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Phantasms of the Living, published in 1886, which embodies much of 
the early work of the Society for Psychical Research, and in particular 
much valuable discussion by its earliest honorary secretary, Edmund 
Gurney, has long been out of print. But as its value has been but little 
aflEected by subsequent investigations, and it still forms the basis on 
which much of the present-day work on telepathy, and especially on 
apparitions, rests, it is thought that a new edition is likely to be appre- 
ciated by the public. Had the authors been with us still, a new edition 
would no doubt have been brought up to date. New evidence would 
have been included, and the discussion might perhaps have been added 
to or diminished, to suit the new atmosphere which the book itself has 
helped to create. Changes of this sort I have not felt justified in attempt- 
ing. The text is subst antially as jbhe^uthors left it w ith t he_ exception of 
omissions for the s ake of^brevity^in^ Chapte rs IV and XIII ( indicatedjn 
their place s), an d no new cases h ave been introduced . 

The original edition, however, occupies two large volumes and it 
was desired to reduce the present one by nearly half. This has been 
effected mainly by omitting a large number of the cases quoted. In the 
original work, besides descriptions of experiments, accounts of some 700 
numbered incidents, prima facie telepathic, were given. Of these the 
present edition includes only 186. The whole of the supplement which 
contains more than half the c ases — the less well-evidenced ones — has 
been omitted. Of the rest the cases retained are selected first as required 
to illustrate Gurney 's remarks, and secondly as being, in my judgment, 
the best evidenced of their class. They must be regarded as typical 
cases, not as exhibiting the mass of evidence obtainable at the time, 
and which for reasons explainc I in the introduction, it was an important 
part of the plan of the original work to present. In order to retain as 
far as possible the effect of this mass, I have given the cases their original 
numbers, thus showing how many have been omitted at each point. 
Further omissions for the sake of brevity are some experimental cases ; 
some illustrative cases in foot-notes ; and, more important, a long note 
by Gurney on Witchcraft and one by Myers " On a Suggested Mode of 
Psychical Interaction," neither of which belongs to the general course 
of the work. 

It remains to explain that I have inserted in their proper places 
some of the cases from the "Additional Chapter" of the original edition, and 
have introduced further information about a few cases and other matters, 
not only from Gurney 's " Additions and Corrections," but from other 
sources, especially from articles published by Gurney himself in reply 
to criticisms. A few foot-notes, attached to omitted cases, have been 


transferred to equally appropriate places elsewhere. Finally there are 
a very few editorial notes in text and foot-notes. These are clearly dis- 
tinguished by being enclosed in square brackets and signed " Ed." 
Square brackets were also used by Gurney to indicate remarks of his own 
in the course of cases, but there is I think no risk of confusion. The 
omission of cases has necessitated some changes in sentences connecting 
one case with another. These also, when other than purely verbal, 
have been enclosed in square brackets. 

I must in conclusion remind readers, especially those who have not 
followed regularly the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 
that the present work, excellent as I think it is, cannot now be regarded 
as a complete exposition of the subject with which it deals. In the 
thirty-one years since it was originally published, much new and illuminat- 
ing evidence for telepathy — both experimental and spontaneous — has 
been accumulated ; our knowledge about transient hallucinations of 
the sane {see Chap. XI), veridical and other, has been considerably added 
to by the " Census of Hallucinations," of which the results were published 
in Proceedings, vol. x ; motor automatism, in the form especially of 
automatic writing, has been much studied ; and finally evidence pointing 
to the operation of telepathy, not only between minds in the body, but 
between the living and the dead, has so much increased, that had he 
written now I think it probable that Gurney (as well as Myers) would 
have referred to this possibility less tentatively than he does on pages 
331 and 479-481. 


Office of the Society for Psychical Research, 

20, Hanover Square, W. 

January, 191 8. 


A LARGE part of the material used in this book was sent to the authors 
as representatives of the Society for Psychical Research ; and the book 
is published with the sanction of the Council of that Society. 

The division of authorship has been as follows. As regards the writing 
and the views expressed, — Mr. Myers is solely responsible for the Intro- 
duction, and for the " Note on a Suggested Mode of Psychical Inter- 
action," which immediately precedes the Supplement ; and Mr. Gurney 
is solely responsible for the remainder of the book. But the most difficult 
and important part of the undertaking — ^the collection, examination, and 
appraisal of evidence — has been a joint labour, of which Mr. Podmore has 
borne so considerable a share that his name could not have been omitted 
from the title-page. 

In the free discussion and criticism which has accompanied the 
progress of the work, we have enjoyed the constant advice and assist- 
ance of Professor and Mrs. Sidgwick, to each of whom we owe more than 
can be expressed by any conventional phrases of obligation. Whatever 
errors of judgment or flaws in argument may remain, such blemishes are 
certainly fewer than th'ey would have been but for this watchful and 
ever -ready help. Professor and Mrs. Sidgwick have also devoted some 
time and trouble, during vacations, to the practical work of interviewing 
informants and obtaining their personal testimony. 

In the acknowledgment of our debts, special mention is due to Pro- 
fessor W. F. Barrett. He was to a great extent the pioneer of the move- 
ment which it is hoped that this book may carry forward ; and the 
extent of his services in relation, especially, to the subject of experi- 
mental Thought-transference will sufficiently appear in the sequel. 
Mr. Malcolm Guthrie, Professor Oliver J. Lodge, and M. Charles Richet 
have been most welcome allies in the same branch of the work. Professor 
Barrett and M. Richet have also supplied several of the non-experimental 
cases in our collection. Mr. F. Y. Edgeworth has rendered valuable 
assistance in points relating to the theory of probabilities, a subject on 
which he is a recognised authority. Among members of our own Society, 
our warmest thanks are due to Miss Porter, for her well-directed, patient, 
and energetic assistance in every department of the work ; Mr. C. C 
Massey has given us the benefit of his counsel ; and Mrs. Walwyn, 


Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, the Rev. A. T. Fryer, of Clerkenwell, the Rev. 
J. A. Macdonald, of Rhyl, and Mr. Richard Hodgson, have aided us 
greatly in the collection of evidence. Many other helpers, in this and 
other countries, we must be content to include in a general expression of 

Further records of experience will be most welcome, and should be 
sent to the [office of the Society for Psychical Research.] 

June, 1886. 



§ I. The title of this book embraces all transmissions of thought and feeling 
fi-om one person to another, by other means than through the recognised channels 
of sense ; and among these cases we shall include apparitions . . . xxxiii 

§ 2. We conceive that the problems here attacked lie in the main track of 
science ........... xxxiii-xxxiv 

§ 3. The Society for Psychical Research merely aims at the free and exact 
discussion of the one remaining group of subjects to which such discussion is 
still refused. Reasons for such refusal ..... xxxiv-xxxvi 

§ 4. Reasons, on the other hand, for the prosecution of our inquiries may be 
drawn from the present condition of several contiguous studies. Reasons drawn 
from the advance of biology ....... xxxvi-xxxvii 

§ 5. Specimens of problems which biology suggests, and on which inquiries 
like ours may ultimately throw light. Wundt's view of the origination of 
psychical energy ........ xxxvii-xxxviii 

§ 6. The problems of hypnotism ..... xxxviii-xxxix 

§ 7. Hope of aid from the progress of " psycho-physical " inquiries xxxix-xl 

§ 8. Reasons for psychical research drawn from the lacuncs of anthro- 
pology ............ xl-xli 

§ g. Reasons drawn from the stud}' of history, and especially of the com- 
parative history of religions. Instance from the S.P.R.'s investigation of so- 
called " Theosophy " . . . . . . . . xli-xliii 

§ 10. In considering the relation of our studies to religion generally, we 
observe that, since they oblige us to conceive the psychical element in man as 
having relations which cannot be expressed in terms of matter, a possibilitj- is 
suggested of obtaining scientific evidence of a supersensory relation between 
man's mind and a mind or minds above his own .... xliii-xlv 

§ II. While, on the other hand, if our evidence to recent supernormal 
occurrences be discredited, a retrospective improbability will be thrown on 
much of the content of religious tradition ..... xlv-xlvii 

§ 12. Furthermore, in the region of ethical and aesthetic emotion, telepathy 
indicates a possible scientific basis for much to which men now cling without 
definite justification ......... xlvii-1 

§ 13. Investigations such as ours are important, moreover, for the purpose 
of checking error and fraud, as well as of eliciting truth . . . 1-li 


§ 14. Place of the present book in the field of psychical research. Indications 
of experimental thought-transference in the normal state. 1 876-1 882 . li-lii 

§ 15. Foundation of the Society for Psychical Research, 1882. Telepathy 
selected as our first subject for detailed treatment on account of the mass of 
evidence for it received by us . . . . . . . . lii-liii 

§ 16. There is also a theoretic fitness in treating of the direct action of mind 
upon mind before dealing with other supernormal phenomena . . liii-liv 

§ 17. Reasons for classing apparitions occurring about the moment of death 
as phantoms of the living, rather than of the dead .... liv-lvi 


§ i8. This book, then, claims to show (i) that experimental telepathy exists, 
and (2) that apparitions at death, &c., are a result of something beyond chance ; 
whence it follows (3) that these experimental and these spontaneous cases of the 
action of mind on mind are in some way allied ..... Ivi-lvii 

§ 19. As to the nature and degree of this alliance different views may be 
taken, and in a " Note on a Suggested Mode of Psychical Interaction " [omitted 
in the present edition. — Ed.] a theory somewhat different from Mr. Gurnej^'s is 
set forth .......... Ivii-lix 

§ 20. This book, however, consists much more largely of evidence than of 
theories. This evidence has been almost entirely collected by ourselves lix-lx 

§ 21. Inquiries like these, though they may appear at first to degrade 
great truths or solemn conceptions, are likely to end by exalting and affirming 
them ............ Ix 


Preliminary Remarks : Grounds of Caution 

§ I. The great test of scientific achievement is often held to be the power 
to predict natural phenomena ; but the test, though an authoritative one in the 
sciences of inorganic nature, has but a limited application to the sciences that 
deal with life, and especially to the department of mental phenomena . 1-2 

§ 2. In dealing with the implications of life and the developments of human 
faculty, caution needs to be exercised in two directions. The scientist is in 
danger of forgetting the unstable and unmechanical nature of the material, and 
of closing the door too dogmatically on phenomena whose relations with estab- 
lished knowledge he cannot trace ; while others take advantage of the fact that 
the limits of possibility cannot here be scientificall}^ stated, to gratify an uncritical 
taste for marvels, and to invest their own hasty assumptions with the dignitj^ 
of laws . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-4 

§ 3. This state of things subjects the study of " psychical " phenomena to 
peculiar disadvantages, and imposes on the strident peculiar obligations . 4-5 

§ 4. And this should be well recognised by those who advance a conception 
bo new to psychological science as the central conception of this book — to wit, 
Telepathy, or the ability of one mind to impress or to he impressed by another mind 
otherwise than through the recognised channels of sense. (Of the two persons 
concerned, the one whose mind impresses the other will be called the agent, and 
the one whose mind is impressed the percipient) ..... 5-6 

§ 5. Telepathy will be here studied chiefly as a system of facts, theoretical 
discussion being subordinated to the presentation of evidence. The evidence 
will be of two sorts — spontaneous occurrences, and the results of direct experi- 
ment ; which latter will have to be carefully distinguished from spurious 
" thought-reading " exhibitions ....... 6-7 


The Experimental Basis : Thought-Transference 

§ I . The term thought-transference has been adopted in preference to thought- 
reading, the latter term (i) having become identified with exhibitions of miiscle- 
reading, and (2) suggesting a power of reading a person's thoughts against 
his will ............ 8-9 

§ 2. The phenomena of thought-transference first attracted the attention of 
competent witnesses in connection with " mesmerism," and were regarded as one 
of the peculiarities of the mesmeric rapport ; which was most prejudicial to 
their chance of scientific acceptance ....... g-io 

§ 3. Hints of thought-transference between persons in a normal state were 
obtained by Professor Barrett in 1S76 ; and just at that time the attention of 
others had been attracted to certain phenomena of the " willing-game," which 


were not easily explicable (as almost all the so-called " willing " and " thought- 
reading " exhibitions are) by unconscious muscular guidance. But the issue 
could never be definitely decided by cases where the two persons concerned were 
in any sort of contact ......... 10-13 

§ 4. And even where contact is excluded, other possibilities of unconscious 
guidance must be taken into account ; as also must the possibility of conscious 
collusion. Anyone who is unable to obtain conviction as to the bona fides of 
experiments by himself acting as agent or percipient (and so being himself one 
of the persons who would have to take part in the trick, if trick it were), may 
fairly demand that the responsibility for the results shall be spread over a con- 
siderable group of persons — a group so large that he shall find it impossible to 
extend to all of them the hypothesis of deceit (or of such imbecility as would 
take the place of deceit) which he might apply to a smaller number . 1 4-1 6 

§ 5. Experiments with the Creery family ; earlier trials . . . 16-18 

More conclusive experiments, in which knowledge of what was to be trans- 
ferred (usually the idea of a particular card, name, or number) was confined to 
the members of the investigating committee who acted as agents ; with a table 
of results, and an estimate of probabilities ...... 18-21 

In many cases reckoned as failures there was a degree of approximate success 
which was very significant . . . . . . . .21-22 

The form of the impression in the percipient's mind seems to have been 
sometimes visual and sometimes auditory ...... 22 

§ 6. Reasons why these experiments were not accessible to a larger number 
of observers ; the chief reason being the gradual decline of the percipient 
faculty ............ 22-24 

§ 7. In a course of experiments of the same sort conducted by M. Charles 
Richet, in France, the would-be percipients were apparently not persons of any 
special susceptibility ; but a sufficient number of trials were made for the 
excess of the total of successes over the total most probable if chance alone 
acted to be decidedly striking ........ 24-26 

The pursuit of this line of inquiry on a large scale in England has produced 
results which involve a practical certainty that some cause other than chance 
has acted ........... 26-27 

§ 8, Experiments in the reproduction of diagrams and rough drawings. In a 
long series conducted by Mr. Malcolm Guthrie, two percipients and a consider- 
able number of agents were employed ...... 27-30 

Specimens of the results . . . . . . . . 30-40 

§ 9. Professor Oliver J. Lodge's experiments with Mr. Guthrie's " subjects," 
and his remarks thereon ......... 41-43 

§ 10. Experiments in the transference of elementary sensations — tastes, 
smells, and pains .......... 43-48 

§ II. A different department of experiment is that where the transference 
does not take effect in the percipient's consciousness, but is exhibited in his motor 
system, either automatically or semi-automaticaUy. Experiments in the 
inhibition of utterance ......... 48-50 

§ 12. The most conclusive cases of transference of ideas which, nevertheless, 
do not affect the percipient's consciousness are those where the idea is repro- 
duced by the percipient in writing, without his being aware of what he has 
written. Details of a long series of trials carried out by the Rev. P. H. and 
Mrs. Newnham .......... 50-56 

The intelligence which acted on the percipient's side in these experiments was 
in a sense an unconscious intelligence — a term which needs careful definition 56-57 

§ 13. M. Richet has introduced an ingenious method for utilising what he 
calls " mediumship " — i.e., the liability to exhibit intelligent movements in 
which consciousness and will take no part — for purposes of telepathic experi- 
ment. By this method it has been clearly shown that a word on which the 
agent concentrates his attention may be unconsciously reproduced by the 
percipient ........... 57-61 

And even that a word which has only an unconscious place in the agent's 
mind may be similarly transferred ....... 61-64 

These phenomena seem to involve a certain impulsive quality in the trans- 
ference ............ 64-65 


§ 14. Apart from serious and systematic investigation, interesting results 
are sometimes obtained in a more casual way, of which some specimens are 
given. It is much to be wished that more persons would make experiments, 
under conditions which preclude the possibility of unconscious guidance. At 
present we are greatly in the dark as to the proportion of people in whom the 
specific faculty exists ......... 65-69 


The Transition from Experimental to Spontaneous Telepathy 

§ I. There is a certain class of cases in which, though they are experiments 
on the agent's part, and involve his conscious concentration of mind with a 
view to the result, the percipient is not consciously or voluntarily a party to the 
experiment. Such cases may be called transitional. In them the distance 
between the two persons concerned is often considerable . . . -70 

§ 2. Spurious examples of the sort are often adduced ; and especially in 
connection with mesmerism, results are often attributed to the operator's will, 
which are really due to some previous command or suggestion. Still, examples 
are not lacking of the induction of the hypnotic trance in a " subject " at a 
distance, by the deliberate exercise of volition ..... 70-72 

§ 3. Illustrations of the induction or inhibition of definite actions by the 
agent's volition, directed towards a person who is unaware of his intent 72-74 
The relation of the will to telepathic experiments is liable to be misunder- 
stood. The idea, which we encounter in romances, that one person may acquire 
and exercise at a distance a dangerous dominance over another's actions, seems 
quite unsupported by evidence. An extreme example of what may really occur 
is given ........... 74-76 

§ 4. Illustrations of the induction of definite ideas by the agent's 
volition ............ 76 

§ 5. The transference of an idea, deliberately fixed on by the agent, to an 
unprepared percipient at a distance, would be hard to establish, since ideas 
whose origin escapes us are so constantly suggesting themselves spontaneously. 
Still, telepathic action may possibly extend considerably beyond the well- 
marlced cases on which the proof of it must depend .... 76-77 

§ 6. Illustrations of the induction of sfiKsa^iOKS by the agent's volition 77-79 
§ 7. And especially of sensations of sight ..... 79-82 

§ 8. The best-attested examples being hallucinations representing the figure 
of the agent himself ......... 82-92 

§ 9. Such cases present a marked departure from the ordinary type of 
experimental thought-transference, inasmuch as what the percipient perceives 
(the agent's form) is not the reproduction of that with which the agent's mind 
has been occupied ; and this seems to preclude any simple physical conception 
of the transference, as due to " brain-waves," sympathetic vibrations, &c. 
A similar difficulty meets us later in most of the spontaneous cases ; and the 
rapprochement of experimental and spontaneous telepathy must be understood 
to be limited to their psychical aspect — a limitation which can be easily 
defended ........... 92-94 


General Criticism of the Evidence for Spontaneous Telepathy 

§ I. When we pass to spontaneous exhibitions of telepathy, the nature of 
the evidence changes ; for the events are described by persons who played their 
part in them unawares, without any idea that they were matter for scientific 
observation. The method of inquiry will now have to be the historical method, 
and will involve difficult questions as to the judgment of human testimony, and 
a complex estimate of probabilities ....,., 95-96 


§ 2. The most general objection to evidence for phenomena transcending 
the recognised scope of science is that, in a thickly populated world where 
mal-observation and exaggeration are easy and common, there is (within 
certain limits) no marvel for which evidence of a sort may not be obtained. 
This objection is often enforced by reference to the superstition of witchcraft, 
which in quite modern times was supported by a large array of contemporary 
evidence ........... 96 

But when this instance is carefully examined, we find (i) that the direct 
testimony came exclusively from the uneducated class ; and (2) that, owing 
to the ignorance which, in the witch-epoch, was universal as to the psychology of 
various abnormal and morbid states, the hypothesis of unconscious self-deception 
on the part of the witnesses was never allowed for .... 96-97 

Our present knowledge of hypnotism, hysteria, and hystero-epilepsy enables 
us to account for many of the phenomena attributed to demonic possession, as 
neither fact nor fraud, but as bona fide hallucinations . . . -97 

While for the more bizarre and incredible marvels there is absolutely no 
direct, first-hand, independent testimony ..... 98-99 

The better-attested cases are just those which, if genuine, might be explained 
as telepathic ; but the evidence for them is not strong enough to support any 
definite conclusion ......... 99-100 

§ 3. The evidence for telepathy in the present work presents a complete 
contrast to that which has supported the belief in magical occurrences. It 
comes for the most part from educated persons, who were not predisposed to 
admit the reality of the phenomena ; while the phenomena themselves are not 
strongly associated with any prevalent beliefs or habits of thought, differing 
in this respect, e.g., from alleged apparitions of the dead. Still we must not, on 
such grounds as these, assume that the evidence is trustworthy . . 101-102 

§ 4. The errors which may affect it are of various sorts. Error of observation 
may result in a mistake of identity. Thus a stranger in the street may be mistaken 
for a friend, who turns out to have died at that time, and whose phantasm is 
therefore asserted to have appeared. But it is only to a very small minority of 
the cases which follow that such a hypothesis could possibly be applied 102-103 

Error of inference is not a prominent danger ; as what concerns the tele- 
pathic evidence is simply what the percipient seemed to himself to see or hear, 
not what he inferred therefrom ....... 103-104 

§ 5. Of more importance are errors of narration, due to the tendency to make 
an account edifying, or graphic, or startling. In first-hand testimony this 
tendency may be to some extent counterbalanced by the desire to be believed ; 
which has less influence in cases where the narrator is not personally responsible, 
as, e.g., in the spurious and sensational anecdotes of anonymous newspaper 
paragraphs, or of dinner-table gossip ...... 104-106 

§ 6. Errors of memory are more insidious. If the witness regards the facts 
in a particular speculative or emotional light, facts will be apt, in memory, to 
accommodate themselves to this view, and details will get introduced or dropped 
out in such a manner as to aid the harmonious effect. Even apart from any 
special bias, the mere effort to make definite what has become dim may fill in the 
picture with wrong detail ; or the tendency to lighten the burden of retention 
may invest the whole occurrence with a spurious trenchancy and simplicity of 
form ............ 106-108 

§ 7. We have to consider how these various sources of error may affect the 
evidence for a case of spontaneous telepathy. Such a case presents a coincidence 
of a particular kind, with four main points to look to : — (i) A particular state 
of the agent, e.g., the crisis of death ; (2) a particular experience of the percipient, 
e.g., the impression of seeing the agent before him in visible form ; (3) the date 
of (i) ; (4) the date of (2) 108 

§ 8. The risk of mistake as to the state of the agent is seldom appreciable : 
his death, for instance, if that is what has befallen him, can usually be proved 
beyond dispute .......... 108-109 

For the experience of the percipient, on the other hand, we have generally 
nothing but his own word to depend on. But for what is required, his word is 
often sufficient. For the evidential point is simply his statement that he has had 
an impression or sensation of a peculiar kind, which, if he had it, he knew that 


he had ; and this point is quite independent of his interpretation oi. his experi- 
ence, which may easily be erroneous, e.g., if he attributes objective realitj' to 
what was really a hallucination . . . . . . . .109 

The risk of misrepresentation is smallest if his description of his experience, 
or a distinct course of action due to his experience, has preceded his knowledge 
of what has happened to the agent ...... 109-110 

§ 9. Where his description of his experience dates from a time subsequent to 
his knowledge of what has happened to the agent, there is a possibility that this 
knowledge may have made the experience seem more striking and distinctive 
than it really was. Still, we have not detected definite instances"of this sort 
of inaccuracy. Nor would the fact (often expressly stated by the witness) that 
the experience did not at the time of its occurrence suggest the agent, by any 
means destroy — though it would of course weaken — the presumption that it was 
telepathic ........... 111-112 

I 10. As regards the interval of time which may separate the two events or 
experiences on the agent's and the percipient's side respectively, an arbitrary 
limit of 12 hours has been adopted — the coincidence in most cases being very 
much closer than this ; but no case will be presented as telepathic where the 
percipient's experience preceded, by however short a time, some grave event 
occurring to the agent, if at the time of the percipient's experience the state of 
the agent was normal ......... 112-113 

§ II. It is in the matter of the dates that the risk of misstatement is greatest. 
The instinct towards simplification and dramatic completeness naturally tends 
to make the coincidence more exact than the facts warrant . . 1 14-115 

§ 12. The date of the event that has befallen the agent is often included in 
the news of that event ; which news, in these days of posts and telegraphs, often 
follows close enough on the percipient's experience for the date of that experience 
to be then safely recalled ..... ... 11 5-1 16 

§ 13. But if a longer interval elapse, the percipient may assume too readily 
that his own experience fell on the critical day ; and as time goes on, his certainty 
is likely to increase rather than diminish. Still, if the coincidence was then and 
there noted, and if the attention of others was called to it, it may be possible to 
present a tolerably strong case for its reality, even after the lapse of a con- 
siderable time .......... 116-117 

§ 14. These various evidential conditions may be arranged in a graduated 
scheme ........... 11 7-1 19 

§ 15. Second-hand evidence (except of one special type) is excluded from the 
body of the work ; but the Supplement [omitted in this edition. — Ed.] contains 
a certain number of second-hand cases, received from persons who were well 
acquainted with the original witnesses, and who had had the opportunity of 
becoming thoroughly acquainted with their statement of the facts . 1 19-120 

§ 16. A certain separation of cases according to their evidential value has 
been attempted, the body of the work being reserved for those where the primd 
Jade probability that the essential facts are correctly stated is tolerably strong. 
But even where the facts are correctly reported, their force in the argument for 
telepathy will differ according to the class to which they belong ; purely emotional 
impressions, for instance, and dreams, are very weak classes . . 120-12 1 

The value of the several items of evidence is also largely affected by the 
mental qualities and training of the witnesses. Every case miist be judged on 
its own merits, by reference to a variety of points ; and those who study the 
records will have an equal opportunity of forming a judgment with those who 
have collected them — except in the matter of personal acquaintance with the 
witnesses, the effect of which it is impossible to communicate . . 121-123 

§ 17. An all-important point is the number of the coincidences adduced. 
A few might be accounted accidental ; but it will be impossible to apply that 
hypothesis throughout. Nor can the evidence be swept out of court by a mere 
general appeal to the untrustworthiness of human testimony. If it is to be 
explained away, it must be met (as we have ourselves endeavoured to meet it) 
in detail ; and this necessitates the confronting of the single cause, telepathy 
(whose d priori improbability is fully admitted), Avith a multitude of causes, more 
or less improbable, and in cumulation incredible .... 123-124 

i_§ 18. With all their differences, the cases recorded bear strong signs of 


belonging to a true natural group ; and their harmony, alike in what they do 
and in what they do not present, is very unlikely to be the accidental result of a 
multitude of disconnected mistakes. And it is noteworthy that certain sensa- 
tional and suspicious details, here conspicuous by their absence, which often 
make their way into remote or badly-evidenced cases, are precisely those which 
the telepathic hypothesis would not cover ..... 124-126 

§ 19. But though some may regard the cumulative argument here put 
forward for spontaneous telepathy as amounting to a proof, the proof is not by 
any means of an eclatant sort : much of the evidence falls far short of the ideal 
standard. Still, enough has perhaps been done to justify our undertaking, and 
to broaden the basis of future inquiry ...... 126-128 

§ 20. The various items of evidence are, of course, not the links in a chain, 
but the sticks in a faggot. It is impossible to lay down the precise number of 
sticks necessary to a perfectly solid faggot ; but the present collection is at least 
an instalment of what is required ....... 128-129 

§ 21. The instinct as to the amount of evidence needed may differ greatly 
in a mind which has, and a mind which has not, realised the facts of experimental 
telepathy (Chap, ii.), and the intimate relation of that branch to the spontaneous 
branch. Between the two branches, in spite of their difference — a difference as 
great in appearance as that between lightning and the electrical attraction of 
rubbed amber for bits of straw — the great psychological fact of a supersensuous 
influence of mind on mind constitutes a true generic bond . . . 129-130 

[The following is Gurney's Synopsis of his important Note on Witchcraft 
Omitted in the present Edition. — Ed.] 

The statement made in Chapter iv. as to the lack of first-hand evidence for 
the phenomena of magic and witchcraft (except so far as they can be completely 
accounted for by modern psychological knowledge) may seem a sweeping one. 
But extensive as is the literature of the subject, the actual records are extra- 
ordinarily meagre ; and the staple prodigies, which were really nothing more 
than popular legends, are quoted and re-quoted ad nauseam. Examples of the 
so-called evidence which supported the belief in lycanthropy, and in the nocturnal 
rides and orgies. 

The case of witchcraft, so far from proving (as is sometimes represented) that 
a more or less imposing array of evidence will be forthcoming for any belief that 
does not distinctly fly in the face of average public opinion, goes, in fact, rather 
surprisingly far towards proving the contrary ..... 

This view of the subject is completely opposed to that of Mr. Lecky, whose 
treatment seems to suffer from the neglect of two important distinctions. He 
does not distinguish between evideitce — of which, in respect of the more bizarre 
marvels, there was next to none ; and authority — of which there was abundance, 
from Homer downwards. Nor does he discriminate the wholly incredible allega- 
tions {e.g., as to transportations through the air and transformations into animal 
forms) from the pathological phenomena, which in the eyes of comtemporaries 
were equally supernatural, and for which, as might be expected, the direct 
evidence was abundant. 

A most important class of these pathological phenomena were subjective 
hallucinations of the senses, often due to terror or excitement, and sometimes 
probably to hypnotic suggestion, but almost invariably attributed to the direct 
operation of the devil. Other phenomena — of insensibility, inhibition of 
utterance, abnormal rapport, and the influence of reputed witches on health — 
were almost certainly hj^notic in character ; " possession " is often simply 
hystero-epilepsy ; while rauch may be accounted for by mere hysteria, or by 
the same sort of faith as produces the modern " mind-cures." 

Learned opinion on the subject of witchcraft went through curious vicissi- 
tudes ; the recession to a rational standpoint, which in many ways was of course 
a sceptical movement, being complicated by the fact that many of the phenomena 
were too genuine to be doubted. Now that the separation is complete, we see 
that the exploded part of witchcraft never had any real e^ddential foundation ; 

xviii ' SYNOPSIS 

while the part which had a real evidential foundation has been taken up into 
orthodox physiological and psychological science. With the former part we 
might contrast, and with the latter compare, the evidential case for telepathy, 

Specimens of the Various Types of Spontaneous Telepathy 

§ I. As the study of any large amount of the evidence that follows is a task 
for which many readers will be disinclined, a selection of typical cases will be 
presented in this chapter, illustrative of the various classes into which the 
phenomena fall .......... 131-132 

§ 2. The logical starting-point is found in the class that presents most 
analogy to experimental thought-transference — i.e., where the percipient's 
impression is not externalised as part of the objective world. An example is 
given of the transference of pain, and a possible example of the transference of 
smell ; but among the phenomena of spontaneous telepathy, such literal repro- 
ductions of the agent's bodily sensation are very exceptional . . 132-135 

§ 3. Examples of the transference of a somewhat abstract idea ; of a pictorial 
image ; and of an emotional impression, involving some degree of physical dis- 
comfort ........... 135-141 

§ 4. Examples of dreams, — a class which needs to be treated with the greatest 
caution, owing to the indefinite scope which it affords for accidental coincidences. 
One of the examples (No. 23) presents the feature of deferment of percipience — 
the telepathic impression having apparently failed at first to reach the threshold 
of attention, and emerging into consciousness some hours after the experience on 
the agent's side in which it had its origin ..... 141-146 

§ 5. Examples of the " borderland " class — a convenient name by which to 
describe cases that belong to a condition neither of sleep nor of provably com- 
plete waking consciousness ; but it is probable that in many of the cases so 
described (as in No. 26), the percipient, though in bed, was quite normally 
awake ........... 146-151 

§ 6. Examples of externalised impressions of sight, occurring in the midst 
of ordinary waking life. In some of these we find an indication that a close 
personal rapport between the agent and percipient is not a necessary condition of 
the telepathic transference ; and another is peculiar in that the phantasmal 
figure is not recognised by the percipient . . . . .151-162 

§ 7. Examples of externalised impressions of hearing ; one of which was of a 
recognised voice, and one of an inarticulate shriek .... 162-166 

§ 8. Example of an impression of touch ; which is also, perhaps, an example 
of the reciprocal class, where each of the persons concerned seems to exercise a 
telepathic influence on the other ....... 166-168 

§ 9. Example of the collective class, where more percipients than one take 
part in a single telepathic incident . ...... 168-170 

§ 10. Among the various conditions of telepathic agency, the death-cases 
form by far the commonest type. Now in these cases it is not rare for the agent 
to be comatose and unconscious ; in other cases, again, he has been in a swoon 
or a deep sleep ; and there is a difficulty in understanding an abnormal exercise 
of psychical energy at such seasons. The explanation may possibly be found in 
the idea of a wider consciousness, and a more complete self, which finds in what 
we call life very imperfect conditions of manifestation, and recognises in death 
not a cessation but a liberation of energy ..... 170-172 



Transference of Ideas and Mental Pictures 

§ I. The popular belief in the transference of thought, without physical 
signs, between friends and members of the same household, is often held on 
quite insufficient grounds ; allowance not being made for the similarity of 
associations, and for the slightness of the signs which may be half-automatically 
interpreted ........... 173-174 

It often happens, for instance, that one person in a room begins humming a 
tune which is running in another's head ; but it is only very exceptionally that 
such a coincidence can be held to imply a psychical transference. Occasionally the 
idea transferred is closely connected with the auditory image of a word or 
phrase ........... 174-175 

§ 2. Examples of the transference of ideas and images of a simple or rudi- 
mentary sort .......... 175-177 

§ 3. Examples of the transference of more complex ideas, representing 
definite events .......... 177-181 

§ 4. Cases where the idea impressed on the percipient has been simply that 
of the agent's approach — a type which must be accepted with great caution, as 
numerous coincidences of the sort are sure to occur by pure accident . 1 81-183 

§ 5. Transferences of mental images of concrete objects and scenes with 
which the agent's attention is occupied at the time .... 183-188 

Some of these impressions are so detailed and vivid as to suggest clairvoyance ; 
nor is there any objection to that term, so long as we recognise the difference 
between such telepathic clairvoyance, and any supposed independent extension 
of the percipient's senses ........ 188-189 

Occasionally the percipient seems to obtain the true impression, not by 
passive reception, but by a deliberate effort . . . . . .18$ 


Emotional and Motor Effects 

§ I, Emotional impressions, alleged to have coincided with some calamitous 
event at a distance, form a very dubious class, as (i) in retrospect, after the 
calamity is realised, they are apt to assume a strength and definiteness which 
they did not really possess ; and (2) similar impressions may be common in the 
soi-disant percipient's experience, and he may have omitted to remark or record 
the misses — the many instances which have not corresponded with any real 
event. All cases must, of course, be rejected where there has been any appreci- 
able ground for anxiety ........ 1 90-1 91 

§ 2. Examples which may perhaps have been telepathic ; some of which 
include a sense of physical distress . ...... 191-195 

§ 3. Examples of such transferences between twins . . . 195-197 

§ 4. Examples where the primary element in the impression is a sense of 
being wanted, and an impulse to movement or action of a sort unlikely to have 
suggested itself in the ordinary course of things .... 197-202 

The telepathic influence in such cases must be interpreted as emotional, not 
as definitely directing, and still less as abrogating, the percipient's power of 
choice : the movements produced may be such as the agent cannot have desired, 
or even thought of ........ . 202-204 



Part I. — The Relation of Dreams to the Argument for Telepathy 

§ I. Dreams comprise the whole range of transition from ideal and emotional 
to sensory affections ; and at every step of the transition we find instances which 
may reasonably be regarded as telepathic ..... 205-206 

The great interest of the distinctly sensory specimens lies in the fundamental 
resemblance which they offer, and the transition which they form, to the 
externalised " phantasms of the living " which impress waking percipients ; the 
difference being that the dream-percepts are recognised, on reflection, as 
having been hallucinatory, and unrelated to that part of the external world 
where the percipient's body is ; while the waking phantasmal percepts are apt 
to be regarded as objective phenomena, which really impressed the eye or the 
ear from outside .......... 206-207 

§ 2. But when we examine dreams in respect of their evidential value — of 
the proof which they are capable of affording of a telepathic correspondence 
with the reality — we find ourselves on doubtful ground. For (i) the details of 
the reality, when known, will be very apt to be read back into the dream, through 
the general tendency to make vague things distinct ; and (2) the great multitude 
of dreams may seem to afford almost limitless scope for accidental correspondences 
of a dream with an actual occurrence resembling the one dreamt of. Any answer 
to this last objection must depend on statistics which, until lately, there has been 
no attempt to obtain ; and though an answer of a sort can be given, it is not 
such a one as would justify us in basing a theory of telepathy on the facts of 
dreams alone ........ = . 207-208 

§ 3. Most of the dreams selected for this work were exceptional in intensity ; 
and produced marked distress, or were described, or were in some way acted on, 
before the news of the correspondent experience was known. In content, too, 
they were mostly of a distinct and unusual kind ; while some of them present a 
considerable amount of true detail ....... 20S-209 

And more than half of those selected on the above grounds are dreams of 
death — a fact easy to account for on the hypothesis of telepathy, and difficult to 
account for on the hypothesis of accident ..... 209—210 

§ 4. Dreams so definite in content as dreams of death afford an opportunity 
of ascertaining what their actual frequency is, and so of estimating whether 
the specimens which have coincided with reality are or are not more numerous 
than chance would fairty allow. With a view to such an estimate, a specimen 
group of 5360 persons, taken at random, have been asked as to their personal 
experiences ; and, according to the result, the persons who have had a vividly 
distressful dream of the death of a relative or acquaintance, within the 12 years 
1874-1S85, amount to about i in 26 of the population. Taking this datum, it 
is shown that the number of coincidences of the sort in question that, according 
to the law of chances, ought to have occurred in the 12 years, among a section 
of the population even larger than that from which we can suppose our telepathic 
evidence to be drawn, is only i. Now (taking account only of cases where 
nothing had occurred to suggest the dream in a normal way), we have encountered 
24 such coincidences — i.e., a number 24 times as large as would have been 
expected on the hj^pothesis that the coincidence is due to chance alone 210-213 

Certain objections that might be taken to this estimate are to a considerable 
extent met by the precautions that have been used . . . 214-215 

§ 5. The same sort of argument may be cautiously applied to cases wliere 
the event exhibited in the coincident dream is not, like death, unique, and 
where, therefore, the basis for an arithmetical estimate is unattainable 215-216 

But many more specimens of a high evidential rank are needed, before dreams 
can rank as a strong integral portion of the argument for telepathy. Meanwhile, 
it is only fair to regard them in connection with the stronger evidenc e of the 
waking phenomena ; since in respect of many of them an explanation that is 
admitted in the waking cases cannot reasonably be rejected . . 216-217 


Part II. — Examples of Dreams which may be Reasonably Regarded 

AS Telepathic 

§ I. Examples of similar and simultaneous dreams . . . 217-219 

An experience which has coincided with some external fact or condition may 
be described as a dream, and yet be sufficiently exceptional in character to 
preclude an application of the theory of chances based on the limitless number 
of dreams ........... 219-221 

§ 2. Examples of the reproduction, in the percipient's dream, of a special 
thought of the agent's, who is at the tim.e awake and in a normal state 221-223 

§ 3. Examples of a similar reproduction where the agent is in a disturbed 
state ............ 223-226 

§ 4. Cases where the agent's personality appears in the dream, but not in a 
specially pictorial way. Inadmissibility of dreams that occur at times of anxiety, 
of dreams of trivial accidents to children, and the like . . . 226-230 

§ 5. Cases where the reality which the eyes of the agent are actually beholding 
is pictorially represented in the dream. Reasons why the majority of alleged 
instances must be rejected ........ 230-231 

The appearance in the dream of the agent's own figure, which is not pre- 
sumably occupying his own thoughts, suggests an independent development, 
by the percipient, of the impression that he receives . . . -232 

§ 6. The familiar ways in v/hich dreams are shaped make it easy to under- 
stand how a dreamer might supply his own setting and imagery to a " transferred 
impression." Examples where the elements thus introduced are few and 
simple ........... 232-237 

§ 7. Examples of more complex investiture, and especially of imagery 
suggestive of death. Importance of the feature of repetition in some of the 
examples ........... 237-242 

§ 8. Examples of dreams which may be described as clairvoyant, but which 
still must be held to imply some sort of telepathic " agency " ; since the per- 
cipient does not see any scene, but the particular scene with some actor in which 
he is connected .......... 242-250 

" Borderland " Cases 

§ I. The transition-states between sleeping and waking — or, more generally 
the seasons when a person is in bed, but not asleep — seem to be specially favour- 
able to subjective hallucinations of the senses ; of which some are known as 
illusions hypnagogiques ; others are the prolongations of dream-images into 
waking moments ; and some belong to neither of these classes, though experi- 
enced in the moments or minutes that precede or follow sleep . . 251-254 

§ 2. It is not surprising that the same seasons should be favourable also to 
the hallucinations which, as connected with conditions external to the per- 
cipient, we should describe, not as subjective, but as telepathic . . . 254 

As evidence for telepathy, impressions of this " borderland " type stand on 
an altogether different footing from dreams ; since their incalculably smaller 
number supplies an incalculably smaller field for the operation of chance 254-255 

Very great injustice is done to the telepathic argument by confounding such 
impressions with dreams ; as where Lord Brougham explains away the co- 
incidence of a unique " borderland " experience of his own with the death of the 
friend whose form he saw, on the ground that the " vast number of dreams " 
give any amount of scope for such " seeming miracles " . . . 255-257 

§ 3. Examples where the impression was not of a sensory sort . . 257 

§ 4. Auditory examples. Cases where the sound heard was not ar- 
ticulate ........... 257-258 

Cases where distinct words were heard ..... 258-264 


§ 5. Visual examples : One (No. 168) illustrates the feature of the appear- 
ance of more than one figure ; and one (No. 170) that of misrecogniiion on the 
percipient's part . . ........ 264-273 

§ 6. Cases where the sense of touch was combined with that of . sight or 
hearing 273-275 

§ 7. Cases affecting the two senses of sight and hearing . . 275-285 

Hallucinations : General Sketch 

§ I. Telepathic phantasms of the externalised sort are a species belonging 
to the larger genus of hallucinations ; and the genus requires some preliminary- 
discussion ............ 286 

Hallucinations of the senses are distinguished from other hallucinations by 
the fact that they do not necessarily imply false belief . . . .287 

They may be defined as percepts which lack, but which can only by distinct 
reflection be recognised as lacking, the objective basis which they suggest; a definition 
which marks them ofi on the one hand from true perceptions, and on the other 
hand from remembered images or mental pictures .... 287-289 

§ 2. The old method of defining the ideational and the sensory elements in 
the phenomena was very unsatisfactory. It is easy to show that the delusive 
appearances are not merely imagined, but are actually seen and heard— the 
hallucination differing from an ordinary percept only in lacking an objective basis; 
and this is what is implied in the word psycho-sensorial, when rightly under- 
stood ............ 289-292 

§ 3. The question as to the physiological starting-point of hallucinations — 
whether they are of central or of peripheral origin — has been warmly debated, 
often in a very one-sided manner. The construction of them, which is central 
and the work of the brain, is quite distinct from the excitation or initiation of them, 
which (though often central also) is often peripheral — i.e., due to some other 
part of the body that sets the brain to work ..... 292-294 

§ 4. This excitation may even be due to some objective external cause, 
some visible point or mark, at or near the place where the imaginary object is 
seen ; and in such cases the imaginary object, which is, so to speak, attached to 
its point, may follow the course of any optical illusion [e.g., doubling by a prism, 
reflection by a mirror) to which that point is subjected. But such dependence 
on an external stimulus does not affect the fact that the actual sensory element 
of the hallucination, in these as in all other cases, is imposed from within by 
the brain ........... 295-297 

§ 5. There, are, however, a large number of hallucinations which are centrally 
initiated, as well as centrally constructed — the excitation being due neither to an 
external point, nor to any morbid disturbance in the sense-organs themselves. 
Such, probably, are many visual cases where the imaginary object is seen in free 
space, or appears to move independently of the eye, or is seen in darkness. Such 
certainly, are many auditory hallucinations ; some hallucinations of pain ; many 
hallucinations which conform to the course of some more general delusion ; and 
hallucinations voluntarily originated ...... 297-305 

§ 6. Such also are hallucinations of a particular internal kind common among 
mystics, in which the sensory element seems reduced to its lowest terms ; 
and which shade by degrees, on the one side into more externalised forms, 
and on the other side into a mere feeling of presence, independent of any sensory 
affection ........... 305—309 

§ 7. A further argument for the central initiation may be drawn from the 
fact that repose of the sense-organs seems a condition favourable to hallucina- 
tions ; and the psychological identity of waking hallucinations and dreams 
cannot be too strongl}^ insisted on . . . . . . . . 309 

§ 8. As regards the construction of hallucinations — the cerebral process 
involved in their having this or that particular form — the question is whether 
it takes place in the specific sensory centre concerned, or in some higher cortical 
tract ............ 310-312 


§ 9. There are reasons for considering that both places of construction are 
available ; that the simpler sorts of hallucination, many of which are clearly 
" after-images," and which are often also recurrent, may take shape at the 
sensory centres themselves ; but that the more elaborate and variable sorts 
must be traced to the higher origin ; and that when the higher tracts are first 
concerned, the production of the hallucination is due to a downward escape of the 
nervous impulse to the sensory centre concerned .... 312-317 

§ 10. The construction of hallucinations in the cortical tracts of the brain, 
proper to the higher co-ordinations and the more general ideational activities, is 
perfectly compatible with the view that the specific sensory centres are them- 
selves situated not below, but in, the cortex ..... 317-318 

Transient Hallucinations of the Sane : Ambiguous Cases 

§ I. Transient hallucinations of the sane (a department of mental phenomena 
hitherto but little studied) comprise two classes : (i) hallucinations of purely 
subjective origin ; and {2) hallucinations of telepathic origin — i.e., " phantasms of 
the living " which have an objective basis in the exceptional condition of the 
person whom they recall or represent. Comparing the two classes, we should 
expect to find a large amount of resemblance, and a certain amount of difference, 
between them .......... 319-320 

§ 2. Certain marked resemblances at once present themselves ; as that 
(generally speaking) neither sort of phenomenon is observably connected with 
any morbid state ; and that each sort of phenomenon is rare — occurring to a 
comparatively small number of persons, and to most of these only once or twice 
in a lifetime .......... 320-321 

§ 3. But in pressing the comparison further, we are met by the fact that the 
dividing line between the two classes is not clear ; and it is important to realise 
certain grounds of mnbigiiity, which often prevent us from assigning an experience 
with certainty to this class or that ....... 322—323 

§ 4. Various groups of hallucinations are passed in review; — "after- 
images " ; phantasmal objects which are the result of a special train of thought ; 
phantasms of inanimate objects, and of animals, and non-vocal auditory phan- 
tasms ; visual representations of fragments of human forms ; auditory impres- 
sions of meaningless sentences, or of groaning, and the like ; and visions of the 
" swarming " type. Nearly all specimens of these types may safely be referred 
to the purely subjective class ....... 323-325 

It is when we come to visual hallucinations representing complete and 
natural-looking human forms, and auditory hallucinations of distinct and 
intelligible words (though here again there is every reason to suppose the 
majority of the cases to be purely subjective), that the ambiguous cases are 
principally to be found ; the ground of ambiguity being that either (i) the person 
represented has been in an only slightly unusual state ; or (2) a person in a 
normal state has been represented in hallucination to more than one percipient 
at different times ; or (3) an abnormal state of the person represented has 
coincided with the representation loosely, but not exactly ; or (4) the percipient 
has been in a condition of anxiety, awe, or expectancy, which might be regarded 
as the independent cause of his experience ..... 325—327 

§ 5. The evidence that mere anxiety may produce sensor}^ hallucination is 
sufficient greatly to weaken, as evidence for telepathy, any case where that 
condition has been present ........ 327-330 

§ 6. The same may be said of the form of awe which is connected with the 
near sense of death ; and (except in a few " collective " cases) abnormal experi- 
ences which followed death have been excluded from the telepathic evidence, 
if the fact of the death was known to the percipient. As to the included cases 
that have followed death by an appreciable interval, reasons are given for pre- 
ferring the hypothesis of deferred development to that of post mortem influence — 
though the latter hypothesis would be quite compatible with the psychical con- 
ception of telepathy ......... 330-332 


§ 7. There is definite evidence to show that mere expectancy may produce 
hallucination .......... 332-334 

One type which is probably so explicable being the delusive impression of 
seeing or hearing a person whose arrival is expected .... 334-335 

§ 8. There is, however, a group of arrival-cases where the impending arrival 
was unknown or unsuspected by the percipient ; or where the phantasm 
has included sorne special detail of appearance which points to a telepathic 
origin 335-33^ 

The Development of Telepathic Hallucinations 

§ I. There are two very principal ways in which phantasms of telepathic 
origin often resemble purely subjective hallucinations : (i) gradualness of 
development ; and (2) originality of form or content, showing the activity of the 
percipient's own mind in the construction ..... 337-338 

§ 2. Gradual development is briefly illustrated in the purely subjective 
class 338-339 

§ 3. And at greater length in the telepathic class. It may exhibit itself 
(i) in delayed recognition of the phantasm on the part of the percipient 339-342 

Or (2) in the way in which the phantasm gathers visible shape . 342—344 

Or (3) in the progress of the hallucination through several distinct stages, 
sometimes affecting more than one sense ..... 344-348 

§ 4. Originality of constructioji is involved to some extent in every sensory 
hallucination which is more than a mere revival of familiar images ; but admits 
of very various degrees ........ 348-349 

§ 5. In telepathic hallucinations, the signs of the percipient's own con- 
structive activity are extremely important. For the difference from the results 
of experimental thought-transference, which telepathic phantasms exhibit, in 
representing what is not consciously occupying the agent's mind — to wit, his own 
form or voice — ceases to be a difficulty in proportion as the extent of the im- 
pression transferred from the agent to the percipient can be conceived to be small, 
and the percipient's own contribution to the phantasm can be conceived to be 
large 349-35° 

It may be a peculiarity of the transferred idea that it impels the receiving 
mind to react on it, and to embody and project it as a hallucination ; but the 
form and detail of the embodiment admit — as in dream — of many varieties, 
depending on the percipient's own idiosyncrasies and associations . 350-352 

§ 6. Thus the percipient may invest the idea of his friend, the agent, with 
features of dress or appurtenance that his own memory supplies. (One of the 
examples given. No. 202, illustrates a point common to the purely subjective and 
to the telepathic class, and about equally rare in either — the appearance of more 
than one figure) 352-357 

§ 7. Or the investing imagery may be of a more fanciful kind — sometimes 
the obvious reflection of the percipient's habitual beliefs, sometimes the mere 
bizarrerie of what is literally a " waking dream." Many difficulties vanish, when 
the analogy of dream is boldly insisted on .... . 357-358 

Examples of phantasmal appearances presenting features which would in 
reality be impossible ......... 358-359 

The luminous character of many visual phantasms is specially to be noted, as 
a feature common to the purely subjective and to the telepathic class . . 359 

Examples of imagery connected with ideas of death, and of religion 359-362 

§ 8. Sometimes, however, the phantasm includes details of dress or aspect 
which could not be supplied by the percipient's mind. Such particulars may 
sometimes creep without warrant even into evidence where the central fact of 
the telepathic coincidence is correctly reported ; but where genuinelj^ observed, 
they must apparently be attributed to a conscious or sub-conscious image 
of his own appearance (or of some feature of it) in the agent's mind, to which the 
percipient obtains access by what may be again described as telepathic clair- 
voyance. Examples ......... 362-367 


In cases where the details of the phantasm are such as either mind might 
conceivably have supplied, it seems simpler to regard them as the contributions 
of the percipient, than to suppose that a clean-cut and complete image has been 
transferred to him from indefinite unconscious or sub-conscious strata of the 
agent's mind .......... 367-368 

§ 9. The development of a phantasm from the nucleus of a transferred 
impression is a fact strongly confirmatory of the view maintained in the preced- 
ing chapters, as to the physiological starting point of many hallucinations. 
Especially must the hypothesis of centrifugal origin (of a process in the direction 
from higher to lower centres) commend itself in cases where the experience seems 
to have implied the quickening of vague associations and distant memories, whose 
physical record must certainly lie in the highest cerebral tracts . . 369-370 

§ 10. Summary of the various points of parallelism between purely subjective 
and telepathic phantasms, whereby their identity as phenomena for the senses 
seems conclusively established. But they present also some very important 
contrasts ........... 370-371 

The Theory of Chance-Coincidence 

§ I. Assuming the substantial correctness of much of the evidence for 
phantasms which have markedly coincided with an event at a distance, how can 
it be known that these coincidences are not due to chance alone ? In examining 
this question, we must be careful to distinguish waking cases from dreams — in 
which latter class (as we have seen) the scope for chance-coincidences is in- 
definitely large .......... 372-374 

§ 2. The answer to this question depends on two points — the frequency of 
phantasms which have markedly coincided with real events, and the frequency of 
phantasms which have not. If the latter class turned out to be extremely large 
— e.g., if we each of us once a week saw some friends' figure in a place which was 
really empty — it is certain that occasionally such a subjective delusion would 
fall on the day that the friend happened to die. The matter is one on which there 
have been many guesses, and many assertions, but hitherto no statistics 374-376 

§ 3. To ascertain what proportion of the population have had experience 
of purely subjective hallucinations, a definite question must be asked of a group 
large and varied enough to serve as a fair sample of the whole. The difficulty of 
taking such a census has been much increased by a wide misunderstanding of its 
purpose 376-377 

§ 4. But answers have been received from a specimen group of 5705 persons ; 
and there is every reason to suppose this number sufficient . . 377-379 

§ 5. It may be objected that persons may have wrongly denied such experi- 
ences (i) through forgetfulness — ^but the experiences of real importance for the 
end in view are too striking to be readily forgotten ; (2) by way of a joke or a 
hoax — but this would lead rather to false confessions than false denials ; (3) in 
self-defence — but such error as may have been produced by this motive has 
probably been more than counter-balanced in other ways . . . 379-381 

§ 6. As to visual hallucinations, representing a recognised face or form — in 
the last 12 years such an experience has, according to the census, befallen i adult 
in every 248 ; but it would have had to befall every adult once, and some adults 
twice, to justify the assumption that the cases recorded in the present work on 
first-hand testimony, of the coincidence of the experience in question with the 
death of the person represented, were due to chance. The odds against the 
accidental occurrence of the said coincidences are counted in trillions . 381-383 

§ 7. The extreme closeness of some of the coincidences affords the basis for 
another form of estimate, which shows the improbability of their accidental 
occurrence to be almost immeasurably great ..... 384-386 

And a number of further cases and further considerations remain, by which 
even this huge total of improbability would be again swelled. The conclusion, 
therefore, after all allowances, that at any rate a large number of the coincidences 
here adduced have had some other cause than chance seems irresistible . 386 


§ 8. An argument of a quite different sort may be drawn from certain pecu- 
liarities wtiich the group of coincidental hallucinations present, when compared, 
as a whole, with the general mass of transient hallucinations of the sane 386-389 

Further Visual Cases Occurring to a Single Percipient 

§ I. Visual hallucinations may present various degrees of apparent ex- 
ternalisation, beginning with what is scarcely more than a picture in the mind's 
eye, and ending with a percept which seems quite on a par with all surrounding 
objects. Examples of these varieties in telepathic phantasms . . 390-397 

§ 2. Examples of completely externalised phantasms. One case (No. 242) 
is remarkable in that the actual percipient had no direct connection with the 
agent, but was in the vicinity of a person intimately connected with him 397—41 1 

§ 3. Cases where the hypothesis of illusion or jnistaken identity has to be 
taken into account. This hypothesis would not exclude a telepathic origin, as 
telepathic illusions are quite conceivable phenomena. But more probably these 
cases were hallucinations ; and if so, their telepathic origin would hardly be 
doubtful. One of them (No. 243) exhibits the point of a previous compact between 
the agent and percipient, that whichever died first should endeavour to make 
the other sensible of his presence. Such a compact, latent in either mind, may 
quite conceivably have some conditioning efficacy .... 412-417 

§ 4. Cases of a rudimentary type — perhaps of arrested development — not 
representative of a human form ; they might be compared to a motor effect 
which is limited to a single start or twitch. The class is too small to carry any 
conviction on its own account, but its type is not so improbable as might at 
first appear ........... 417-419 

§ 5. Certain cases involving no coincidence with any ostensibly abnormal 
condition of the agent, (i) Instances where several percipients, at different 
times, have had hallucinations representing the same person, in whom a specific 
faculty for producing telepathic impressions may therefore be surmised 419—426 

§ 5. And (2) instances where a presumption that a hallucination was not 
purely subjective is afforded by peculiarities of dress or aspect in the figure 
presented ........... 426-431 

§ 7. And (3) instances where the phantasm appears at a time when the 
person whom it represents is, unknown to the percipient, actually approaching 
him, with thoughts more or less consciously turned in his direction 431-432 

Further Auditory Cases Occurring to a Single Percipient 

§ I. Cases where the phantasm has been of a recognised voice — the words 
heard having been, certainly in some cases and possibly in others, those which 
the distant agent was uttering ....... 433-436 

§ 2. Cases where what was heard was the percipient's own name — which is 
a very common form of purely subjective hallucination. 

In most of these cases there may probably have been a certain occupation of 
the agent's thoughts with the percipient ..... 436-439 

§ 3. Cases where the phantasm has been of an »«>'ecog'ni5f^ voice . 439-442 

§ 4. Cases where the impression was of a complete sentence, conveying either 
a piece of information or a direction, projected by the percipient as a message 
from without .......... 442-443 

§ 5. An example [omitted. — Ed.] where the sound heard was vocal, but not 
recognised and articulate ......... 443 

§ 6. Phantasms of non-vocal noises or shocks. These are parallel to the 


rudimentary visual hallucinations ; but need a more jealous scrutiny, since odd 
noises are often due to undiscovered physical causes in the vicinity. Still, some 
impressions of the sort are pretty clearly hallucinatory ; and the form is one 
which telepathic hallucinations seem occasionally to take. [Gurney's examples 
are omitted. — Ed.] ......... 443-444 


Tactile Cases and Cases Affecting More than One of the 
Percipient's Senses 

§ I. Purely subjective impressions of touch, of at all a distinct kind, are 
rare ; and when they occur, may often be accounted for as illusions due to an 
involuntary muscular twitch. It is not surprising, therefore, that telepathic 
hallucinations of this type should be rare ...... 445 

The most conclusive examples are those where an affection of touch is com- 
bined with one of sight or hearing. Examples .... 446-448 

§ 2. Combined affections of the senses of sight and hearing : one case 
(No. 299) is peculiar in that the person who was probably the agent was in the 
percipient's company at the time ....... 448-453 

Reciprocal Cases 

§ I. It occasionally happens that at the time when A telepathically influ- 
ences B, A on his side has an impression which strongly suggests that B has 
reciprocally influenced him. The best proof of this is where A expresses in words 
some piece of knowledge as to B's condition. Other more doubtful cases (of 
which two are quoted) may be provisionally referred to the same type ; but 
unless A's description includes something which he could not have known or 
guessed in a normal manner, his alleged percipience of B cannot be assumed to 
have been more than mere subjective dream or vision . . . 454-458 

§ 2. Examples of apparently reciprocal action. They may be regarded as 
special cases of " telepathic clairvoyance " ; A's percipience of B being apparently 
active rather than passive, and due to some extension of his own faculties, con- 
nected with the abnormality of condition that occasions his agency, and not to 
any special abnormality in B's condition ..... 458-463 

The cases which, on the evidence, would be clearly reciprocal, are so few in 
number as to justify a doubt whether they represent a genuine type. Supposing 
them to be genuine, however, their rarity is not hard to account for ; and it may 
be hoped that time will bring us more well-attested specimens . . . 465 


Collective Cases 

§ I. Phantasms which have affected the senses of more than one percipient, 
are a specially perplexing class. On the face of them, they suggest a real objective 
presence of the person seen or heard. But such " objectivity " (unless conceived 
as some illusive form of matter) can hardly be defined except just as a temporary 
existence in more minds than one : it does not explain, but merely repeats, the 
fact that the experience is collective ...... 466—467 

In the absence of evidence (worthy of the name) that a telepathic phantasm 
has ever given a test of physical reality — e.g., by opening a door or a window — 
we are led to inquire how far the phenomena of collective hallucination can be 
covered by a theory of purely psychical impressions. Two views (which will 
subsequently prove capable of amalgamation) present themselves : — (1) that 

xxviii SYNOPSIS 

A, at a distance, produces sitnultaneous islepathic impressions on the minds of B 
and C, who happen to be together ; (2) that B's impression, however originated, 
passes on to C by a process of thought-transference — the hallucination itself being, 
so to speak, infectious ......... 467-468 

§ 2. The first of these hypotheses presents great difficulties. For our review 
of telepathic hallucinations, so far, has shown that they may take very various 
forms, and may be projected at various intervals of time (within a range of a 
few hours) from the crisis or event to which we trace them ; so that, supposing 
several persons to have been the joint recipients of a telepathic impression, it 
seems most improbable that they should independently invest it at the same 
moment with the same sensory form. Nor, again, should we expect to find, 
among those jointly affected, any person who was a stranger to the distant 
agent ; nevertheless, cases occur where such a person has shared in the collective 
percipience. And yet again, on this theory of independent affection of several 
persons, there seems no special reason why they should be in one another's 
company at the time, since the agent may presumably exercise his influence 
equally in any direction ; nevertheless, cases where the percipients have been 
apart are, in fact, extremely rare ....... 468-469 

A few examples of the sort are given ; but in several even of these, the 
percipients, though not together, were very near one another, and had been to 
some extent sharing the same life ....... 469-473 

§ 3. As to the second of the proposed hypotheses — that one percipient 
catches the hallucination from another by a process of thought-transference — the 
question at once suggests itself whether such communicability is ever found in 
cases where no distant agent is concerned — cases of purely subjective hallucina- 
tion. Such an idea would, no doubt, be as new to scientific psychology as every 
other form of thought-transference ; but transient hallucinations of the sane 
have been so little studied or collected that it is not surprising if the evidence for 
collective experiences of the sort has escaped attention — though collective 
illusions have sometimes been described as hallucinations . . . 473-474 

It is in collective cases that the importance of distinguishing illusions from 
hallucinations becomes plain. In illusions, the persons affected receive an 
actual sensory impression from a real object, the error being simply in their way 
of interpreting it ; and in the interpretation they are often greatly at the mercy 
of one another's suggestions. Many historical incidents — such as visions of signs 
in the heavens and of phantom champions — might be thus explained 474-476 

In other alleged instances of " collective hallucination " there is no proof 
that the impression was really more than a vivid mental picture, evoked under 
excitement. And even where the image probably has been externahsed in space 
— as, e.g., in religious epidemics, or in experimentatiom with hypnotised subjects 
■ — most cases may be at once explained, without any resort to thought-trans- 
ference, as due to a common idea or expectancy. (Apart, however, from special 
excitement or from hypnotism, the povv^er of mere verbal suggestion to produce 
delusions of the senses may easily be exaggerated) .... 476—478 

It is only when these various conditions are absent — when the joint percept 
is clearly hallucination, and is also projected by the several percipients without 
emotional preparation or suggestion — that the hypothesis of thought-transference 
from one percipient to another can reasonably be entertained . . 478—479 

§ 4. The examples to be adduced, of collective hallucinations, not apparently 
originating in the condition of any absent living person, include cases which may 
be regarded by some as indicating post-mortem agency. It is not necessary to 
enter into the vexed question as to whether the power of exercising psychical 
energy can or cannot continue after physical death. Whatever answer that 
question received, these cases would still, in the writer's opinion (for reasons set 
forth in § 2), bear witness to a quite mundane transference between the minds 
of the living percipients ........ 479—481 

§ 5. FisMfl/ examples. Hallucinations of light .... .481 

Various out-of-door experiences, not easy to explain as illusions . 481—484 

Examples of the simultaneous appearance of an unrecognised figure to two 
percipients, who in most instances were in each other's company at the time. 
The two impressions received in several cases were not precisely similar, and in 
one (No. 322) were markedly different ...... 484-489 


Similar appearances of recognised phantasms ; one of which (case 333) 
represented the form of one of the percipients ..... 489-495 

The auditory class requires special care, owing to the liability of real sounds 
(whose source is often uncertain) to be misinterpreted. Example . 495-496 

The examples may at all events show that a purely psychical account of these 
joint experiences is possible. It is not, indeed, obvious why hallucinations of the 
senses should be a form of experience liable to transmission from mind to mind ; 
but as regards the cases which are telepathically originated, some explanation 
may perhaps be found in the fact that they at an}? rate involve a disturbance of 
a very peculiar kind ......... 496-497 

§ 6. Collective hallucinations of telepathic origin. Auditory examples, 
representing vocal sounds ........ 497-499 

And non-vocal sounds ........ 499—502 

Visual examples. In one of these (No. 345) the experiences of the two 
percipients were not precisely similar ...... 502-513 

§ 7. The fact that in most of the examples the two percipients, B and C, were 
together suggests that mere community of scene, or of immediate mental occupa- 
tion, may establish a rapport favourable to " psychical " transferences 513-514 

And this conception may lead us, in cases where a distant agent, A, is con- 
cerned, to an amalgamation of the two hypotheses (see § i) which have hitherto 
been treated separately. C's experience, qua hallucination, that is to say in its 
sensory character, may be derived from B's ; but, for all that, A may be tele- 
pathically affecting C. It may be A's joint influence on B and C that has con- 
ditioned the transference of sensation between them ; or, in cases where C holds 
no intimate relation to A, a rapport may be established, ad hoc, between A and C 
by the rapport of both of them with B — who thus serves, so to speak, as a 
channel for C's percipience ; and this would even help to explain the cases where 
B is not himself consciously percipient ...... 514-515 

The conception of rapport through community of mental occupation might 
explain the various cases where the telepathic influence seems to have been 
locally conditioned, by the presence of the percipient in a place that was interest- 
ing to the agent. And the idea may receive a still further extension in cases where 
there is reason to suppose a reciprocal telepathic clairvoyance of the scene on 
the agent's part .......... 515-516 

Conjectures of this sort concerning the more outlying telepathic phenomena 
have an air of rashness ; but the mere fact that " psychical " transferences are 
possible, when once admitted, opens up a scheme of Idealism within whose 
bounds (if bounds there be) the potential unity between individual minds is at 
any rate likely to reaUse itself in surprising ways .... 516-517 


§ I. The case for spontaneous telepathy, being essentially a cumulative one, 
hardly admits of being recapitulated in a brief and attractive form. Nothing 
but a detailed study of the evidence — dull as that study is — can justify 
definite conclusions concerning it. After all, the dulness is perhaps not greater 
than attaches to the mastery of details in other departments of knowledge ; and 
it cannot be too clearly realised that what the research requires is not sensational 
incidents, but verified dates ........ 518-519 

§ 2. The present instalment of evidence, with all its defects, may j^et, by 
making the idea of telepathy better understood, facilitate collection in the 
future ; and already various difficulties and prejudices show signs of giving 
way 519-520 

§ 3. But though a fair field is sure, in time, to be allowed to the work, its 
advance must depend on very wide co-operation ; and the more so as the several 
items of proof tend to lose their effect as they recede into the past. The experi- 
mental investigations must be greatly extended, the spontaneous phenomena 
must be far more intelligently watched for and recorded, before the place of 
telepathy in scientific psychology can be absolutely assured . . . 520 


Name of Agent, 

Percipient, or a 

No. Witness 

Name of Agent, 

Percipient, or a 


No. Witness 


• 71 

65 Dyne 


. 72 

70 Reay 


• 73 

73 " England " 


• 73 

74 M. S. . 


• 75 

77 Carroll . 


. 76 

79 Banister 


• 77 

80 Mrs. C. . 


• 78 

81 Skirving 


• 78 

86 Rowlands 


. 81 

87 Liebeault 


. 83 

89 Page Hopps 


. 83 

90 Fielding. 


. 85 

94 Bevan . 


• 87 

96 Crellin . 


. 89 

98 Sladen . 


. 132 

99 Walsh . 


• 134 

104 McDougall 


• 135 

105 Hobbs . 


• 137 

109 Fleming. 


. 140 

112 Gouldrick 


, 140 

115 Fielding. 


. 142 

116 Saunders 


• 145 

123 Freese . 


. 146 

126 Bolland 


. 149 

127 Varah . 


• 157 

131 Hilton . 


. 152 

132 Hilton . 


. 155 

133 Busk 


. 156 

134 Storie 


• 159 

135 Pierce . 


. 160 

138 Green 


. 163 

146 Brougham 


. 163 

151 Jukes 


. 167 

154 Thompson 


. 168 

157 Field 


. 174 

158 Stent . 


• 175 

161 Barr 


. 178 

168 Mrs. T. . 


. 179 

170 Stewart 


. 180 

172 Duthie . 


. 182 

173 Byrne . 


. 183 

174 C. P. . 


. 184 

175 Runciman 


. 185 

180 Coombs 


. 187 

182 Jenour . 



Name of Agent, 
Percipient, or a 

Witness Page 

1 Esdaile . 

2 Sisson . 

5 Thompson 

6 Thompson 

7 S.H.B. . 
9 Smith . 

10 Thompson 

11 Thompson 

12 Thompson 

13 Moses . 

14 S. H. B. 

15 S. H. B. 

16 S. H. B. 

17 Severn . 

18 Newnham 

19 Drake . 

20 Bettany. 

21 Keulemans 

22 Martyn . 

23 Wingfield 

24 West 

25 Colly er . 

26 Marchant 

27 Rawlinson 

28 N. J. S. 

29 De Freville 

30 Reddell . 

31 Carslake 

32 Bee 

33 John B. 

34 A. Z. . 

35 Newnham 

36 Done 

37 Griffin . 

38 Keulemans 

44 Saunders 

45 Davy . 
49 Arundel 
54 Pritchard 
56 Keulemans 
58 Hopkins 

62 Mrs. L. . 

63 H. G. B. 

184 Keulemans 

185 Sherman 

190 Lightfoot 

191 Goodyear 

194 E. W. R. 

195 Rogers . 
197 Bishop , 
199 Mr. B. . 

201 Bolland 

202 E. L. S. 

205 Chatterton 

206 Jones 

207 Larcombe 

208 Udny 

213 Hernaman 
215 Rouse . 

219 Mr. A. . 

220 Gottschalk 

221 Chatterton 

222 Searle 

223 Taunton 

224 Fournier 

227 King 

228 Barker 

236 Bale 

237 Greany 

238 Duck 

239 Merrill 

240 Ellis 

241 Masters 

242 Gierke 

243 Fenzi 

244 Owen 
249 Carr 
251 Wright 
254 Hawkins 

256 Hopkinson 

257 Stone 

259 Beaumont 

260 Beaumont 

261 Gladstone 

262 Bigge 

263 Carroll . 

267 Stone 

268 Fryer 











Name of Agent, 

Name of Agent, 

Name of Agent, 

Percipient, or a 

Percipient, or a 

Percipient, or a 

No. Witness 





No. Witness 


272 Ives 



Parker . 


339 Beilby . 


273 Witt 



Connie and 

340 W. L. . 


274 Stella . 




343 Paget . 


277 Burrows 



Bettany . 


345 Cox 


280 Goodyear 



Evens . 


348 Elgee . 


282 Wyld . 



Coote . 


350 \\'illink . 


283 Harriss . 





352 Falkinburg 


286 C. 





355 Ayre 


293 Gundry . 





356 Bar well . 


295 Lichfield 



Smith . 


691 Lethbridge 


297 Paget 



Lady C. 


692 Grant 


298 Barnes . 



Bettany . 


694 Russell . 


299 Brown . 



Norton . 


695 Teale 


300 Sings 



Mouat . 


696 Hill 


303 J.H.W. . 





697 Mrs. B. . 


304 Pierce 1 . 



Jupp . 


700 Fielding. 


305 Varley . 





701 H. E. M. 


306 Smith . 



Saxon . 


702 Griffin . 



Kal Tov 6euv TOtouTOi' e^eTTiCTTa/Aat, 
cro^ots jilv alviKTrjpa OecrcfidTcov del, 
CTKo.LOis Se <j!)a{iAov Kai' /3pa>(et StSacTKaAor. 


§ I. The subject of this book is one which a brief title is hardly sufficient 
to explain. For under our heading of " Phantasms of the Living," we 
propose, in fact, to deal with all classes of cases where there is reason to 
suppose that the mind of one human being has affected the mind of another, 
without speech uttered, or word written, or sign made ; — ^has affected it, 
that is to say, by other means than through the recognised channels of 

To such transmission of thoughts or feelings we have elsewhere given 
the nam.e of telepathy ; and the records of an experimental proof of the 
reality of telepathy will form a part of the present work. But, for reasons 
which will be made manifest as we proceed, we have included among 
telepathic phenomena a vast class of cases which seem at first sight to 
involve something widely different from a mere transference of thought. 

I refer to apparitions ; excluding, indeed, the alleged apparitions of 
the dead, but including the apparitions of all persons who are still living, 
as we know life, though they may be on the very brink and border of 
physical dissolution. And these apparitions, as will be seen, are them- 
selves extremely various in character ; including not visual phenomena 
alone, but auditory, tactile, or even purely ideational and emotional 
impressions. All these we have included under the term phantasm ; a 
word which, though etymologically a mere variant of phantom, has been 
less often used, and has not become so closely identified with visual im- 
pressions alone. 

Such, then, is the meaning of our title ; but something more of explana- 
tion is necessary before the tone and purport of the book can be correctly 
apprehended. In a region so novel we could hardly be surprised at any 
amount of misinterpretation. Some readers, for instance, may fancy 
that a bulky and methodical treatise on phantoms can be but a half- 
serious thing. Others may suspect that its inspiration is in the love of 
paradox, and that a fantastic craving for originality has led the authors 
along a path where they cannot expect, and can hardly desire, that the 
sober world should follow them. 

§ 2. It is necessary, therefore, to state at once that we have no wish 
either to mystify or to startle mankind. On the contrary, the conjoint 


and consultative scheme according to which this book has been com- 
piled is thus arranged mainly with a view to correcting or neutralising 
individual fancies or exaggerations, of leaving as little as possible to 
the unchecked idiosyncrasy of any single thinker. And, again, we wish 
distinctly to say that so far from aiming at any paradoxical reversion of 
established scientific conclusions, we conceive ourselves to be working 
(however imperfectly) in the main track of discovery, and assailing a 
problem which, though strange and hard, does yet stand next in order 
among the new adventures on which Science must needs set forth, if her 
methods and her temper are to guide and control the widening curiosity, 
the expanding capacities of men. 

We anticipate, in short, that although it may at first be said of us 
that we have performed with needless elaboration a foolish and futile 
task, the ultimate verdict on our work will rather be that we have under- 
taken — with all too limited a knowledge and capacity — to open an inquiry 
which was manifestly impending, and to lay the foundation-stone of a 
study which will loom large in the approaching age. 

Our only paradox, then, is the assertion that we are not paradoxical ; 
and that assertion it is the main business of this Introduction to justify, 

§ 3. For this purpose two principal heads of exposition will be required. 
In the first place, since this book (for whose contents we are solely re- 
sponsible) was undertaken by us at the request of the Council of the 
Society for Psychical Research, and is largely based on material v/hich 
that Council has placed at our disposal, it will be necessary to say some- 
thing as to the scope and object of the Society in question ; — its grounds 
for claiming a valid scientific position, and its points of interconnection 
with established branches of philosophic inquiry. 

And, secondly, it will be needful to indicate the precise position which 
the theme of this book occupies in the field of our investigations ; the 
reason why we have isolated these special phenomena in a separate 
group, and have selected them for discussion at this early stage of the 
Society's labours. 

A reader of the programme of the Society will probably feel that 
although the special topics to which attention is there invited may be 
unfamiliar, yet its general plea is such as he has often noted in the history 
of science before. " To approach these various problems without pre- 
judice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and 
unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many 
problems, once not less obscure nor less hoth'' debated " ; — phrases 
like these have no more of novelty than there might be, for instance, 
in the proposal of a Finance Minister to abolish the last of a long series 
of protective embargoes. Free Trade and free inquiry have each of them 
advanced step by step, and by dint of the frequent repetition, under 
varying difficulties, of very similar, and very elementary, truths. The 
special peculiarity of our topic is that it is an article (so to say) on which 
the Free Traders themselves have imposed an additional duty ; that it 
has been more sternly discountenanced by the men who appeal to experi- 
ment than by the men who appeal to authority ; — that its dispassionate 
discussion has since the rise of modern science been tabooed more jealously 


than when the whole province was ciaimed by theology alone. There 
have been reasons, no doubt, for such an exclusion ; and I am not assert- 
ing that either Free Trade or free inquiry is always and under all circum- 
stances to be desired. But it is needful to point out yet once more how 
plausible the reasons for discouraging some novel research have often 
seemed to be, while yet the advance of knowledge has rapidly shown 
the futility and folly of such discouragement. 

It was the Father of Science himself who was the first to circum- 
scribe her activity. Socrates, in whose mind the idea of the gulf between 
knowledge and mere opinion attained a dominant intensity which impressed 
itself on all ages after him, — Socrates expressly excluded from the range 
of exact inquiry all such matters as the movements and nature of the sun 
and moon. He wished — and as he expressed his wish it seemed to have 
all the cogency of absolute v/isdom — that men's minds should be turned 
to the ethical and political problems v.'hich truly concerned them, — not 
wasted in speculation on things unknowable — things useless even could 
they be known. 

In a kindred spirit, though separated from Socrates by the whole 
result of that physical science which Socrates had deprecated, we find 
a great modern systematiser of human thought again endeavouring to 
direct the scientific impulse towa.rds things serviceable to man ; to divert 
it from things remote, unknowable, and useless if known. What, then, 
in Comte's view, are in fact the limits of mean's actual home and business ? 
the bounds within which he may set himself to learn all he can, assured 
that all will serve to inform his conscience and guide his life ? It is the 
solar system vvdiich has become for the French philosopher v.'hat the street 
and market-place of Athens were for the Greek. And this enlargement 
(it need hardly be said) is not due to any wider grasp of mind in Comte 
than in Socrates, but simply to the march of science ; which has shown 
us that the whole solar system does, in fact, minister to our practical 
needs, and that the Nautical Almanack demands for its construction a 
mapping of the paths of those ordered luminaries which in the time of 
Socrates seemed the very wanderers of Heaven. 

I need not say that Comte's prohibition has been altogether neglected. 
No frontier of scientific demarcation has been established between Neptune 
and Sirius, between Uranus and Aldebaran. Our knowledge of the fixed 
stars increases yearly ; and it would be rash to maintain that human 
conduct is not already influenced by the conception thus gained of the 
unity and immensity of the heavens. 

To many of the comments that have been made on our work, even 
by men who are not formal Comtists, the above reflections furnish a fitting 
reply. But it is not only, nor perhaps mainly, on account of the remote- 
ness of our subject, or its unimportance to human progress, that objec- 
tion is taken to our inquiry. The criticisms which have met us, from the 
side sometimes of scientific, sometimes of religious orthodox}^ have em- 
bodied, in modernised phraseology, nearly every well-worn form of timid 
protest, or obscurantist demurrer, with which the historians of science 
have been accustomed to give piquancy to their long tale of discovery 
and achievement. It would have been convenient had these objections 
been presented to us in a connected and formal manner. But this has 


not been the case ; and, in fact, they are in their very nature too incoherent, 
too self-contradictory, for continuous statement. Sometimes we are 
told that we are inviting the old theological spirit to encroach once more 
on the domain of science ; sometimes that we are endeavouring to lay 
the impious hands of Science upon the mysteries of Religion. Sometimes 
we are informed that competent savants have already fully explored 
the field which we propose for our investigation ; sometimes that no 
respectable man of science would condescend to meddle Avith such a 
reeking mass of fraud and hysteria. Sometimes we are pitied as laborious 
triflers who prove some infinitely small matter with mighty trouble and 
pains ; sometimes we are derided as attempting the solution of gigantic 
problems by slight and superficial means. 

§ 4. The best way of meeting objections thus confused and contra- 
dictory will be to show as clearly as we can at what points our inquiries 
touch the recent results of science ; what signs there are which indicate 
the need of vigorous advance along the lines which we have chosen. 
We shall show, perhaps, that there is a kind of convergence towards this 
especial need — that in several directions of research there is felt that 
kind of pause and hesitancy which is wont to precede the dawn of illumin- 
ating conceptions. We shall not, of course, thus prove that our own 
attempt has been successful, but we shall prove that it was justified ; 
that if the problems which we set ourselves to solve are found to be 
insoluble, the gaps thus left in the system of thought on which man's 
normal life is based will be such as can neither be ignored nor supplied, 
but will become increasingly palpable and increasingly dangerous. 

Let us consider how far this remark can be justified with regard to 
some of the leading branches of human knowledge in turn. And let us 
take first Biology, the science which on the whole approaches the closest 
to our own inquiries. Biology has, during the last half-century, made 
an advance which, measured by the hold exercised on the mass of culti- 
vated minds, has perhaps had no parallel since the forward stride of astro- 
nomy and physics in the days of Newton. A glance at the text-books 
of the last generation, in physical or mental science — ^Whewell's History 
of the Inductive Sciences, or Mill's Logic, — as compared, for instance, 
with the works of their immediate successor, Mr. Herbert Spencer, shows 
something which is not so much progress as revolution — the transforma- 
tion of Biology from a mere special department of knowledge into the 
key to man's remotest history, the only valid answer to the profoundest 
questions as to his present being. 

For, in truth, it is Biology above all other sciences which has profited 
by the doctrine of evolution. In evolution, — in the doctrine that the 
whole cosmical order is the outcome of a gradual development, — mankind 
have gained for the first time a working hypothesis which covers enough 
of the known facts of the universe to make its possible extension to all 
facts a matter of hopeful interest. And Biology, which even at the date 
of Whewell's book could barely make good its claim to be regarded as a 
coherent science at all, has now acquired a co-ordinating and continuous 
principle of unity which renders it in some respects the best t3'^pe of a 
true science which we possess, It traces life from the protozoon to the 


animal, from the brute to the man ; it offers to explain the complex 
fabric of human thought and emotion, viewed from the physical side, 
as the development of the molecular movements of scarcely-differentiated 
fragments of protoplasm. 

And along with this increased knowledge of the processes by which 
man has been upbuilt has come also an increased knowledge of the pro- 
cesses which are now going on within him. The same inquiries which 
have brought our organic life into intelligible relation with the whole 
range of animal and vegetable existence have enabled us also to conceive 
more definitely the neural side of our mental processes, and the relation 
of cerebral phenomena to their accompanying emotion or thought. And 
hence, in the view of some ardent physiologists, it is becoming more and 
more probable that we are in fact physiological automata ; that our 
consciousness is a mere superadded phenomenon — a mere concomitant 
of some special intensity of cerebral action, with no basis beyond or apart 
from the molecular commotion of the brain. 

But this view, as it would seem, depends in a great part upon some- 
thing which corresponds in the mental field to a familiar optical illusion. 
When we see half of some body strongly illuminated, and half of it feebly 
illuminated, it is hard to believe that the brilliant moiety is not the larger 
of the two. And, similarly, it is the increased definiteness of our con- 
ception of the physical side of our mental operations which seems to in- 
crease its relative importance, — to give it a kind of priority over the 
psychical aspect of the same processes. Yet, of course, to the philosophic 
eye the central problem of the relation of the objective and subjective 
sides of these psycho-neural phenomena can be in no way altered by any 
increase of definiteness in our knowledge of the objective processes which 
correspond to the subjective states. 

And, on the other hand, there is one singular logical corollary which 
seems thus far to have escaped the notice of physiologist and psychologist 
alike. It is this : that our increased vividness of conception of the physical 
side of mental life, while it cannot possibly disprove the independence 
of the psychical side, may quite conceivably prove it. I will again resort 
to the (very imperfect) analogy of a partially illuminated body. Suppose 
that one hemisphere of a globe is strongly lit up, and that the other is 
lit up by faint and scattered rays.^ I am trying to discern whether the 
two hemispheres are symmetrically marked throughout. Now no clearness 
of marks on the bright hemisphere can disprove the existence of corre- 
sponding marks on the dim one. But, on the other hand, it is conceivable 
that one of the few rays which fall on the dim hemisphere may reveal 
some singular mark which I can see that the bright hemisphere does not 
possess. And the brighter the bright hemisphere is made, the more 
certain do I become that this particular mark is not to be found on it. 

§ 5. I will give two concrete examples of what I mean — one of them 
drawn from the conclusions of a great physiologist, the other from the 

^ The analogy will be closer if we suppose that the second half is lit, not dimly 
but from within, — since in one sense consciousness gives us more information as to 
the psychical than as to the physical side of life, though it is information of a different 



obvious condition of a new branch of experimental inquiry. I shall not 
discuss either instance in detail, since I am here only endeavouring to 
show that with increased precision in psycho-physical researches the old 
problems of free-will, soul and body, etc., are presenting more definite 
issues, and offering a far more hopeful field to the exact philosopher than 
their former vagueness allowed. 

My first illustration, then, is from the form which the old free-will 
controversy has assumed in the hands of Wundt. Wundt stands, of 
course, among the foremost of those who have treated human thought 
and sensation as definite and measurable things, who have computed 
their rate of transit, and analysed their elements, and enounced the laws 
of their association. It is not from him that we need look for any lofty 
metaphysical view as to the infinite resources of spiritual power, — the 
transcendental character of psychical phenomena. But, nevertheless, 
Wundt believes himself able to assert that there is within us a residue — 
an all-important residue — of psychical action which is incommensurable 
with physiological law. So far, he holds, is the principle of conservation 
of energy from covering the psychical realm, that the facts of mental 
evolution proclaim that the very contrary is the case ; — and that what 
really obtains is rather " an unlimited new creation of psychical energy."^ 
Nay, so convinced is he of the inadequacy of any system of physiological 
determinism to explain psychical facts, that he holds that we must directly 
reverse the materialistic view of the relation of the corporeal to the psychical 
life. " It is not the psychical life," he says, " which is a product of the 
physical organisation ; rather it is the physical organism which, in all 
those purposive adjustments which distinguish it from inorganic com- 
pounds, is itself a psychical creation." ^ 

I am not here expressing either agreement or disagreement with this 
general view. I am merely pointing out that here is an opinion which, 
whether right or wrong, is formed as a result not of vagueness but of 
distinctness of physiological conceptions. And my illustration shows 
at any rate that the development of physiology is tending not always 
to make the old psychical problems seem meaningless or sterile, but rather 
to give them actuality and urgency, and even to suggest new possibilities 
of their solution. 

§ 6. But, to come to my second instance, it is perhaps from the present 
position of hypnotism that the strongest argument may be drawn for the 
need of such researches as ours, to supplement and co-ordinate the some- 
what narrower explorations of technical physiology. For the actual 
interest of the mesmeric or hypnotic trance — I am not now dealing with 
the rival theories which these words connote — the central interest, let 
us say, of induced somnambulism, or the sleep-waking state — has hardly 
as yet revealed itself to any section of inquirers. 

^ " Hier gilt vielmehr ein Gesetz unbegrenzter Neuschopfung geistiger Energie, 
welches nur dutch die sinnliche Bestimmtheit des geistigen Lebens gewisse Hemmungen 
erleidet." — Wundt, Logik, ii., p. 507. 

- " Nicht das geistige Leben ist era Erzeugniss der physischen Organisation, 
sondern diese ist in allem, was sie an zweckvoUen Einrichtungen der Selbstregulirung 
und der Energie-verwerthung vor den Substanzcomplexen der unorganischen Natur 
voraushat, eine geistige Schopfung." — Wundt, Logik, ii., p. 471. 


That interest lies neither in mesmerism as a curative agency, as 
EUiotson would have told us, nor in hypnotism as an illustration of in- 
hibitory cerebral action, as Heidenhain would tell us now. It lies in the 
fact that here is a psychical experiment on a larger scale than was ever 
possible before ; that we have at length got hold of a handle which turns 
the mechanism of our being ; that we have found a mode of shifting the 
threshold of consciousness which is a dislocation as violent as madness, 
a submergence as pervasive as sleep, and yet is waking sanity ; that we 
have induced a change of personality which is not per se either evolutive 
or dissolutive, but seems a mere allotropic modification of the very ele- 
ments of man. The prime value of the hypnotic trance lies not in what 
it inhibits, but in what it -reveals ; not in the occlusion of the avenues 
of peripheral stimulus, but in the emergence of unnoted sensibilities, 
nay, perhaps even in the manifestation of new and centrally initiated 

The hypnotic trance is an eclipse of the normal consciousness which 
can be repeated at will. Now the first observers of eclipses of the sun 
ascribe them to supernatural causes, and attribute to them an occult 
influence for good or evil. Then comes the stage at which men note their 
efiects on the animal organism, the roosting of birds, the restlessness 
of cattle. Then come observations on the intensity of the darkness, 
the aspect of the lurid shade. But to the modern astronomer all this is 
trifling as compared with the knowledge which those brief moments give 
him of the orb itself in its obscuration. He learns from that transient 
darkness more than the noon of day can tell ; he sees the luminary no 
longer as a defined and solid ball, but as the centre of the outrush of flaming 
energies, the focus of an effluence Vv^hich coruscates untraceably through 
immeasurable fields of heaven. 

There is more in this parallel than a mere empty metaphor. It sug- 
gests one of the primary objects which psychical experiment must seek 
to attain. Physical experiment aims at correcting the deliverances of 
man's consciousness with regard to the external world by instruments 
which extend the range, and concentrate the power, and compensate the 
fallacies of his senses. And similarly, oiir object must be to correct the 
deliverances of man's consciousness concerning the processes which are 
taking place within him by means of artificial displacements of the psycho- 
physical threshold ; by inhibiting normal perception, obliterating normal 
memory, so that in this temporary freedom from preoccupation by accus- 
tomed stimuli his mind may reveal those latent and delicate capacities 
of which his ordinary conscious self is unaware. 

§ 7. It was thus, in fact, that thought-transference, or telepathy, 
was first discovered. In the form of community of sensation between 
operator and subject, it was noted nearly a century ago as a phenomenon 
incident to the mesmeric trance. Its full importance was not perceived, 
and priceless opportunities of experiment were almost wholly neglected. 
In order to bring out the value and extent of the phenomenon it was 
necessary, we venture to think, that it should be investigated by men 
whose interest in the matter lay not in the direction of practical thera- 
peutics but of psychical theory, and who were willing to seek and " test 


for it " under a wide range of conditions, not in sleep-waking life only, 
but in normal waking, and normal sleep, and, as this book will indicate, 
up to the very hour of death. 

The difficulties of this pursuit are not physiological only. But, never- 
theless, in our endeavours to establish and to elucidate telepathy, we look 
primarily for aid to the most recent group of physiological inquirers, to 
the psycho-physicists whose special work — as yet in its infancy — has 
only in our own day been rendered possible by the increased accuracy 
and grasp of experimental methods in the sciences which deal with Life. 

The list of Corresponding Members of our Society will serve to show 
that this confidence on our part is not wholly unfounded, and to indicate 
that we are not alone in maintaining that whatever may be the view of 
these perplexing problems which ultimately prevails, the recent advances 
of physiology constitute in themselves a strong reason — not, as some hold, 
for the abandonment of all discussion of the old enigmas, but rather for 
their fresh discussion with scientific orderliness, and in the illumination 
of our modern day. 

§ 8. From Biology we may pass, by an easy transition, to what is 
commonly known as Anthropology, — the comparative study of the 
different races of men in respect either of their physical characteristics, 
or of the early rudiments of what afterwards develops into civilisation. 

The connection of anthropology with psychical research will be evident 
to any reader who has acquainted himself with recent expositions of 
Primitive Man. He may think, indeed, that the connection is too evident, 
and that we can hardly bring it into notice without proving a good deal 
more than we desire. For as the creeds and customs of savage races 
become better known, the part played by sorcery, divination, apparitions 
becomes increasingly predominant. Mr. Tylor and Sir John Lubbock 
have made this abundantly clear, and Mr. Spencer has gone so far as to 
trace all early religion to a fear of the ghosts of the dead. In the works 
of these and similar authors, I need hardly say, we are led to regard all 
these beliefs and tendencies as due solely to the childishness of savage 
man — as absurdities which real progress in civilisation must render 
increasingly alien to the developed common-sense, the rational experi- 
ence of humanity. Yet it appears to me that as we trace the process of 
evolution from savage to civilised man, we come to a point at which 
the inadequacy of this explanation is strongly forced on our attention. 
Certainly this was my own case when I undertook some years ago to give 
a sketch of the Greek oracles. It soon became evident to me that the 
mass of phenomena included under this title had, at any rate, a psycho- 
physical importance which the existing works on the subject for the 
most part ignored. I scarcely ventured myself to do more than indicate 
where the real nodi of the inquiry lay. But when a massive treatise on 
Ancient Divination appeared from the learned pen of M. Bouch6-Leclercq, 
I looked eagerly to see whether his erudition had enabled him to place 
these problems in a new light. I found, however, that he explicitly 
renounced all attempt to deal with the phenomena in more than a merely 
external way. He would record, but he would make no endeavour to 
explain ; — taking for granted, as it appeared, that the explanation de- 


pended on fraud alone, and on fraud whose details it would now be im- 
possible to discover. 

I cannot think that such a view can any longer satisfy persons ade- 
quately acquainted with the facts of hypnotism. Whatever else, whether 
of fraud or reality, there may have been on the banks of Cassotis or Castaly, 
— unde superstitiosa primmn sacra evasit vox f era, — there were at least 
the hypnotic trance and hystero-epilepsy. And until these and similar 
elements can be sifted out of the records left to us, with something of 
insight gained by familiarity with their modern forms, our knowledge 
of Pythia or of Sibyl will be shallow indeed. 

Still more markedly is such insight and experience needed in anthro- 
pology proper — in the actual observation of the savage peoples who still 
exist. It is to be hoped that shamans and medicine-men will not vanish 
before the missionary until the}^ have yielded some fuller lessons to the 
psycho-physicist — until the annals of the Salpetriere and the experi- 
ments of Dean's Yard^ have been invoked in explanation of the weird 
terrors of the Yenisei and the Congo. 

§ 9. Passing on from Anthropology to history in its wider accepta- 
tion, we find these psycho -physical problems perpetually recurring, and 
forming a disturbing element in any theory of social or religious evolution. 
The contagious enthusiasms of the Middle Ages — the strange endemic 
maladies of witchcraft, vampirism, lycanthropy — even the individual 
inspiration of a Mahomet or a Joan of Arc — these are phenomena which 
the professed historian feels obliged to leave to the physician and the 
alienist, and for which the physician and the alienist, in their turn, have 
seldom a satisfactory explanation. 

Nor do phenomena of this kind cease to appear with the advance of 
civilisation. In detailed modern histories, in the biographies of eminent 
men, we still come upon incidents which are, at any rate at first sight, 
of a supernormal^ kind, and over which the narrator is forced to pass 
with vague or inadequate comment. 

But it is, of course, in dealing with the history of religions that our 
lack of any complete grasp of psychical phenomena is most profoundly 
felt. And here, also, it is as a result of recent progress, — of the growth 
of the comparative study of religions, — that we are able to disengage, 

^ [The then office of the Society for Psychical Research. — Ed.] 
" " I have ventured to coin the word ' supernormal ' to be applied to phenomena 
which are beyond xoliat usually happens — beyond, that is, in the sense of suggesting 
unknown psychical laws. It is thus formed on the analogy of abnormal. When we 
speak of an abnormal phenomenon we do not mean one which contravenes natural 
laws, but one which exhibits them in an unusual or inexplicable form. Similarly 
by a supernormal phenomenon, I mean, not one which overrides natural laws, for 
I believe no such phenomenon to exist, but one which exhibits the action of laws 
higher, in a psychical aspect, than are discerned in action in cvery-day life. By 
higher (either in a psychical or in a physiological sense), I mean ' apparently belong- 
ing to a more advanced stage of evolution.' " — Proceedings of the S.P.R., vol. iti. 
p. 30. Throughout this treatise we naturally need a designation for phenomena 
which are inexplicable by recognised physiological laws, and belong to the general 
group into the nature of which we are inquiring. The term psychical (which is liable 
to misapprehension even in the title of our Society) can hardly be used without 
apology in this specialised sense.- The occasional introduction of the word super- 
normal may perhaps be excused. 


in a generalised form, the chief problems with which our " psychical " 
science, if such could be established, would be imperatively called on to deal. 

For we find throughout the world's history a series of great events 
which, though differing widely in detail, have a certain general resemblance 
both to each other and to some of those incidents both of savage and 
of ordinary civilised life to which reference has already been made. 

The elements which are common to the great majority of religions 
seem to be mainly two — namely, the promulgation of some doctrine which 
the religious reformer claims to have received, or actually to communicate, 
in some supernormal manner ; and the report of a concurrent manifesta- 
tion of phenomena apparently inexplicable by ordinary laws. 

Now, with the rise of one religion our Society has already had practi- 
cally to deal. Acting through Mr. Hodgson, whose experiences in the 
matter have been elsewhere detailed,^ a committee of the Society for 
Psychical Research has investigated the claim of the so-called " Theos- 
ophy," of which Madame Blavatsky was the prophetess, to be an incipient 
world-religion, corroborated by miraculous, or at least supernormal, 
phenomena, — and has arrived at the conclusion that it is merely a 
rechaujfe of ancient philosophies, decked in novel language, and supported 
by ingenious fraud. Had this fraud not been detected and exposed, 
and had the system of belief supported thereon thriven and spread, we 
should have witnessed what the sceptic might have cied as a typical 
case of the origin of religions. A Gibbon of our own cay, reviewing the 
different motives and tendencies which prompt, or spread, revelations, 
might have pointed to Theosophy and Mormonism as covering between 
them the whole ground ; — from the adroit advantage taken of mystical 
aspiration in the one religion, to the commonplace action of greed and 
lust upon helplessness and stupidity which forms the basis of the other. 

But if it should be argued from these analogies that in no case of the 
foundation of a religion would any scientific method of psychical inquiry 
prove necessary or fruitful, if we knew all the facts ; but that such develop- 
ments might be sufficiently dealt with by ordinary common-sense, or, 
like Mormonism, by the criminal law, the generalisation would be hasty 
and premature. We need not go far back to discover two religions whose 
central fact is not a fact of fraud at all, but an unexplained psychical 
phenomenon. I allude to the vision-life of Sweden borg, and the speaking 
with tongues which occurred in the church of Irving, — each of which 
constitutes a central point of faith for a certain number of intelligent 
and educated persons at the present day. Of neither of these facts can 
Science at present offer a satisfactory explanation. The speaking with 
tongues seems plainly to have been for the most part (though not entirely) 
a genuine automatic phenomenon. But as to the origin of such automatic 
utterances (conveyed in speech or writing), as to the range from which 
their contents are drawn, or the kind of attention which they can claim, 
there is little or nothing to be learnt from accepted textbooks. We ai"e 
groping among the first experiments, the simplest instances, on which 
any valid theory can be based. ^ 

^ Proceedings of the S.P.R., vol. ill. 

* See papers on "Automatic Writing" in Proceedings of the S.P.R., vols.ii. 
and iii. 


The case of Swedenborg carries us still further beyond the limits of 
our assured knowledge. Of madness and its delusions, indeed, we know 
much ; but it would be a mere abuse of language to call Swedenborg 
mad. His position must be decided by a much more difficult analogy. 
For before we can even begin to criticise his celestial visions we must be 
able in some degree to judge of his visions of things terrestrial ; we must 
face, that is to say, the whole problem of so-called clairvoyance, of a faculty 
which claims to be not merely receptive but active, — a projection of super- 
sensory percipience among scenes distant and things unknown. 

And the existence of such a faculty as this will assuredly never be 
proved by a mere study of the transcendental dicta of any single seer. 
This problem, too, must be approached, partly through the hypnotic 
trance, in which the best-attested instances of clairvoyance are alleged 
to have occurred, and partly through the collection of such supernormal 
narratives as some of those which find place in the present book. 

Even a sketch like this may indicate how complex and various may be 
the problems which underlie that " History of Sects " in which a Bossuet 
might see only the heaven-sent penalty for apostasy against the Church, — 
a Gibbon, the mere diverting panorama of the ever-varying follies of men. 

§ 10. But reflections like these lie on the outskirts of a still larger 
and graver question. What (it is naturally asked) is the relation of our 
study — not to eccentric or outlying forms of religious creed — but to 
central and vital conceptions ; and especially to that main system of 
belief to which in English-speaking countries the name of religion is by 
popular usage almost confined ? 

Up till this time those vt'ho have written on behalf of the Society for 
Psychical Research have studiously refrained from entering on this im- 
portant question. Our reason for this reticence is obvious enough when 
stated, but it has not been universally discerned. We wished to avoid 
even the semblance of attracting the public to our researches by any 
allurement which lay outside the scientific field. We could not take for 
granted that our inquiries would make for the spiritual view of things, 
that they would tend to establish even the independent existence, still 
less the immortality, of the soul. We shrank from taking advantage of 
men's hopes or fears, from representing ourselves as bent on rescuing 
them from the materialism which forms so large a factor in modern thought, 
or from the pessimism which dogs its steps with unceasing persistency. 
We held it to be incumbent on us, in an especial degree, to maintain a 
neutral and expectant attitude, and to conduct our inquiries in the " dry 
light " of a dispassionate search for truth. 

And this position we still maintain. This book, as will be seen, does 
not attempt to deal with the most exciting and popular topics which are 
included in our Society's general scheme. And we shall be careful in 
the pages that follow to keep within our self-assigned limits, and to say 
little as to any light which our collected evidence may throw on the 
possibility of an existence continued after our physical death. 

That master-problem of human life must be assailed by more deliber- 
ate approaches, nor must we gild our solid arguments with the radiance 
of an unproved surmise. But it would, nevertheless, be impossible, in a 


discussion of this general kind, to pass over the relation of psychical 
research to religion altogether in silence. And, indeed, since our inquiries 
began, the situation has thus far changed that we have now not anticipa- 
tion merely, but a certain amount of actual achievement, to which to 
appeal. We hold that we have proved by direct experiment, and corrobor- 
ated by the narratives contained in this book, the possibility of communica- 
tions between two minds, inexplicable by any recognised physical laws, 
but capable (under certain rare spontaneous conditions) of taking place 
when the persons concerned are at an indefinite distance from each other. 
And we claim further that by investigations of the higher phenomena of 
mesmerism, and of the automatic action of the mind, we have confirmed 
and expanded this view in various directions, and attained a standing- 
point from which certain even stranger alleged phenomena begin to 
assume an intelligible aspect, and to suggest further discoveries to come. 

Thus far the authors of this book, and also the main group of their 
fellow-workers, are substantially agreed. But their agreement as to the 
facts actually proved does not extend — it is not even to be desired that 
it should extend — to the speculations which in one direction or another 
such facts must inevitably suggest. They are facts which go too deep 
to find in any two minds a precisely similar lodgment, or to adjust them- 
selves in the same way to the complex of pre-existent conceptions. The 
following paragraphs, therefore, must be taken merely as reflecting the 
opinions provisionally held by a single inquirer. 

I may say, then, at once that I consider it improbable that telepathy 
will ever receive a purely physical explanation, — an explanation, that is 
to say, wholly referable to the properties of matter, as molecular matter 
is at present known to us. I admit, of course, that such an explanation 
is logically conceivable ; that we can imagine that undulations should 
be propagated, or particles emitted, from one living organism to another, 
which should excite the percipient organism in a great variety of ways. 
But it seems to me, — and I imagine that in this view at any rate the 
majority of Materialists will concur, — that if the narratives in this book 
are to be taken as, on the whole, trustworthy, the physical analogies are 
too faint, and the physical difficulties too serious, to allow of our intruding 
among the forces of material Nature a force which — unlike any other — 
would seem (in some cases at least) neither to be diminished by any 
distance nor to be impeded by any obstacle whatsoever. 

I lay aside, for the purposes of the present argument, the possibility 
of a monistic scheme of the universe, — of a conseniiens conspirans continuata 
cognatio rerum which may present in an unbroken sequence both what 
we know as Matter and what we know as Mind. Such a view, — though 
to higher intelligences it may perhaps be an intuitive certainty, — can for 
us be nothing more than a philosophic opinion. Our scientific arguments 
must needs be based on the dualism which our intellects, as at present 
constituted, are in fact unable to transcend. 

I maintain, therefore, that if the general fact of telepathic communica- 
tion between mind and mind be admitted, it must also be admitted that 
an element is thus introduced into our conception of the aggregate of 
empirically known facts which constitutes a serious obstacle to the material- 
istic synthesis of human experience. The psychical element in man, I 


repeat, must henceforth almost inevitably be conceived as having relations 
which cannot be expressed in terms of matter. 

Now this dogma, though wholly new to experimental science, is, of 
course, familiar and central in all the higher forms of religions. Relations 
inexpressible in terms of matter, and subsisting between spirit and Spirit, 
— the human and the Divine, — are implied in the very notion of the 
interchange of sacred love and love, of grace and worship. I need hardly 
add that the reality of any such communion is rigidly excluded by the 
materialistic view. The Materialist, indeed, may regard prayer and aspira- 
tion with indulgence, or even with approval, but he must necessarily 
conceive them as forming merely the psychical side of certain molecular 
movements of the particles of human organisms, and he must necessarily 
regard the notion of Divine response to prayer as an illusion generated 
by subsequent molecular movements of the same organisms, — the mere 
recoil and reflux of the wave which the worshipper himself has created. 

It would, of course, be mere offensive presumption to draw a 
parallel between our telepathic experiments and such a relation between 
a human and Divine spirit as the devout soul believes itself to realise in 
prayer. One side of that communion must ex hypothesi transcend the 
measurement or analysis of finite minds. But, confining our view wholly 
to the part played by the human organism, it seems to me incontestable 
that our experiments suggest possibilities of influence, modes of operation, 
which throw an entirely fresh light on this ancient controversy between 
Science and Faith. I claim at least that any presumption which science 
had established against the possibility of spiritual communion is now re- 
butted ; and that inasmuch as it can no longer be afflrmed that our minds 
are closed to all influences save such as reach them through sensory avenues, 
the Materialist must admit that it is no longer an unsupported dream but a 
serious scientific possibility, that if any intelligences do in fact exist other 
than those of living men, influences from those intelligences may be con- 
veyed to our own mind, and may either remain below the threshold of 
consciousness, or rise into definite consciousness, according as the presence 
or absence of competing stimuli, or other causes as yet unknown to us, 
may determine. 

§11.1 shall leave this proposition expressed thus in its most abstract 
and general form. And I may add — it is a reflection which I must ask 
the reader to keep steadily in mind, — that any support or illumination 
which religious creeds may gain from psychical inquiry is likely to aflect 
not their clauses but their preamble ; is likely to come, not as a sudden 
discovery bearing directly on some specific dogma, but as the gradual 
discernment of laws which may fundamentally modify the attitude of 
thoughtful minds. 

Now, in what I have called the preamble of all revelations two theses 
are generally involved, quite apart from the subject-matter, or the Divine 
sanction, of the revelation itself. We have to assume, first, that human 
testim.ony to supernorinal facts may be trustworthy ; and secondly, that 
there is something in the nature of man which is capable of responding 
to — I may say of participating in — these supernormal occurrences. That 
is to say, revelations are not proved merely by large external facts, per- 


ceptible to every one who possesses the ordinary senses, nor again are 
they proved solely by what are avowedly mere subjective impressions, 
but they are largely supported by a class of phenomena which comes 
between these two extremes ; by powers inherent in certain individuals 
of beholding spiritual visions or personages unseen by common eyes, of 
receiving information or guidance by interior channels, of uttering truths 
not consciously acquired, of healing sick persons by the imposition of 
hands, with other faculties of a similarly supernormal kind. 

And I hope that I shall not be thought presumptuous or irreverent 
if (while carefully abstaining from direct comment on any Revelation) 
I indicate what, in my view, would be the inevitable effect on the attitude 
of purely scientific minds towards these preliminary theses, — this pre- 
amble, as I have said, of definite religions, — were the continued prosecu- 
tion of our inquiry to lead us after all to entirely negative conclusions, 
were all our evidence to prove untrustworthy, and all our experiments 

For in the first place it is plain that this new science of which we 
are endeavouring to lay the foundations stands towards religion in a 
very different position from that occupied by the rising sciences, such 
as geology or biology, whose conflict or agreement with natural or revealed 
religion has furnished matter for so much debate. The discoveries of those 
sciences can scarcely in themselves add support to a doctrine of man's 
soul and immortality, though they may conceivably come into collision 
with particular forms which that doctrine has assumed. Religion, in 
short, may be able to assimilate them, but it would in no way have suffered 
had they proved altogether abortive. 

But with our study the case is very different. For, to take the firs 
of the two preliminary theses of religion already referred to, the question 
whether human evidence as to supernormal occurrences can ever be trusted 
has been raised by our inquiries in a much more crucial form than when 
Hume and Paley debated it with reference to historical incidents only. 
We discuss it with reference to alleged contemporary incidents ; we en- 
deavour to evaluate by actual inspection and cross-examination the 
part which is played in supernormal narratives by the mere love of wonder, 
" the mythopceic faculty," the habitual negligence and ignorance of 
mankind. And if all the evidence offered to us should crumble away on 
exact investigation — as, for instance, the loudly vaunted evidence for 
the marvels connected with Theosophy has crumbled — it will no doubt 
be questioned whether the narratives on which the historic religions 
depend for their acceptance could have stood the test of a contemporaneous 
inquiry of a similarly searching kind. 

And more than this, it will not only be maintained that the collapse 
of our modern evidence to supernormal phenomena discredits all earlier 
records of the same kind by showing the ease with which such marvels 
are feigned or imagined, but also that it further discredits those records 
by making them even more antecedently improbable than they were before. 
Not only will it be said that the proved fallibility of the modern witnesses 
illustrates the probable fallibility of the ancient ones, but the failure of 
the inquiry to elicit any indication that supernormal faculties do now 
exist in man will fro tanio throw a retrospective improbability on the 


second of the prelimir.ary theses of rehgion, which assumes that some 
such supernormal faculty did at any rate exist in man at a given epoch. 
It may indeed be urged that such faculties were given for a time, and 
for a purpose, and were then withdrawn. But the instinct of scientific 
continuity, which even in the shaping of the solid continents is fain to 
substitute for deluge and cataclysm the tideway and the ripple and 
the rain, will rebel against the hypothesis of a b^^gone age of inward 
miracles, — a catastrophic interference with the intimate nature of man. 

I will illustrate my meaning by a concrete example, which does not 
involve any actual article of Protestant faith. The ecstasy and the 
stigmata of St. Francis are an important element in Roman Catholic 
tradition. They are to some extent paralleled in the present day by 
the ecstasy and the stigmata of Louise Lateau. And Catholic instinct 
has discerned that if this modern case be decided to be merely morbid. 
and in no true sense supernormal, a retrospective discredit will be cast on 
the earlier legend. The old reluctance of the Catholic Church to submit 
her phenomena to scientific assessors has therefore to some extent been 
overcome ; and Catholic physicians, under ecclesiastical authority, have 
discussed Louise Lateau's case in the form_s of an ordinary medical 

Enough will have been said to indicate the reality of the connection 
between our inquiries and the preliminary theses of religion. And so far 
as our positive results go in this direction, they will perhaps carry the 
more weight in that they are independently obtained, and intended to 
subserve scientific rather than religious ends ; — coming, indeed, from men 
who have no developed theory of their own to offer, and are merely 
following the observed facts wherever they may seem to lead. I see no 
probability, I may add, that our results can ever supply a convincing 
proof to any specialised form of religion. The utmost that I anticipate 
is, that they may afford a solid basis of general evidence to the inde- 
pendence of man's spiritual nature, and its persistence after death, on 
which basis, at any rate, religions in their specialised forms may be at 
one with science, and on which the structure of definite revelation (which 
must be up-built by historical or moral arguments) may conceivably be 
planted with a firmness which is at present necessarily lacking. 

§ 12. I have been speaking thus far of religion in its full sense, as a 
body of doctrine containing some kind of definite assurance as to an 
unseen world. But the form of religious thought which specially char- 
acterises our own day is somewhat different from this. We are accustomed 
rather to varying attempts to retain the spirit, the aroma of religion, 
even if its solid substratum of facts previously supposed provable should 
have to be abandoned. The discoursers on things spiritual who have been 
most listened to in our own day — as Carlyle, Emerson, Mazzini, Renan, 
Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Ruskin, etc. — have been to a very small 
extent dogmatic on the old lines. They have expressed vague, though 
lofty, beliefs and aspirations, in which the eye of science may perhaps 
see little substance or validity, but which nevertheless have been in a 
certain sense more independent, more spontaneous, than of old, since 
they are less often prompted by any faith instilled from without, and 


resemble rather the awakening into fuller consciousness of some inherited 
and instinctive need. 

And this brings us by an easy transition to the next topic, on which 
I wish to dwell. For I wish to point out that the emotional creed of edu- 
cated men is becoming divorced from their scientific creed ; that just as 
the old orthodoxy of religion was too narrow to contain men's knowledge, 
so now the new orthodoxy of materialistic science is too narrow to contain 
their feelings and aspirations ; and consequently that just as the fabric 
of religious orthodoxy used to be strained in order to admit the discoveries 
of geology or astronomy, so now also the obvious deductions of material- 
istic science are strained or overpassed in order to give sanction to feelings 
and aspirations which it is found impossible to ignore. My inference 
will, of course, be that in this vaguer realm of thought, as well as in the 
more distinctly defined branches of knowledge which we have already 
discussed, the time is ripe for some such extension of scientific knowledge as 
we claim that we are offering here — an extension which, in my viev/, 
lifts us above the materialistic standpoint altogether, and which gives at 
least a possible reality to those subtle intercommunications between spirit 
and spirit, and even between visible and invisible things, of which Art 
and Literature are still as full as in any " Age of Faith " which 
preceded us. 

I point, then, to the obvious fact that the spread of Materialism has 
not called into being Materialists only of those simple types which were 
commonly anticipated a century since as likely to fill a world of complete 

Materialists, indeed, of that old unflinching temper do exist, and 
form a powerful and influential body. It would have been strange, 
indeed, if recent advances in physiology had not evoked new theories 
of human life, and a new ideal. For the accepted commonplaces of the 
old-fashioned moralist are being scattered with a ruthless hand. Our 
free will, over great portions at least of its once supposed extent, is declared 
to be an illusion. Our highest and most complex emotions are traced to 
their rudimentary beginnings in the instincts of self-preservation and 
reproduction. Our vaunted personality itself is seen to depend on a shifting 
and unstable synergy of a number of nervous centres, the defect of a 
portion of which centres may alter our character altogether. And mean- 
time Death, on the other hand, has lost none of its invincible terrors. The 
easy way in which our forefathers would speak of " our mortal and im- 
mortal parts " is hard to imitate in face of the accumulating testimony 
to the existence of the one element in us, and the evanescence of the other. 
And since the decay and dissolution of man seem now to many minds 
to be so much more capable of being truly known than his survival or 
his further evolution, it is natural that much of the weight which once 
belonged to the prophets of what man hoped should pass to those who 
can speak with authority on what man needs must fear. Thus " mad- 
doctors " tend to supplant theologians, and the lives of lunatics are found 
to have more lessons for us than the lives of saints. For these thinkers 
know well that man can fall below himself ; but that he can rise above 
himself they can believe no more. A corresponding ideal is gradually 
created ; an id^al of mere sanity and normality, which gets to look op. 


any excessive emotion or fixed idea, any departure from a balanced 
practicality, with distrust or disfavour, and sometimes rising to a kind 
of fervour of Philistinism, classes genius itself as a neurosis. 

The alienists who have taken this extreme view have usually, perhaps, 
been of opinion that in thus discrediting the higher flights of imagination 
or sentiment we are not losing much ; that these things are in any case a 
mere surplusage, and that the ends which life is really capable of attaining 
can be compassed as well without them. But if the materialistic theory 
be the true one, these limitations of ideal might well be adopted even by 
men who would deeply regret what they were thus renouncing. It might 
well seem that, in abandoning the belief in any spiritual or permanent 
element in man, it were wise to abandon also that intensity of the affec- 
tions which is ill adapted to bonds so perishable and insecure, that reach 
of imagination which befitted only the illusory dignity which was once 
attached to human fates. 

But in fact, as I have already implied, the characteristic movement 
of our own country, at any rate, at the present day, is hardly in this 
direction. Our prevalent temper is not so much materialistic as agnostic ; 
and although this renouncement of all knowledge of invisible things does 
in a sense leave visible things in sole possession of the field, yet the 
Agnostic is as far as anyone from being " a hog from Epicurus' sty." 
Rather, instead of sinking into the materialistic ideal of plain sense and 
physical well-being, the rising schools of thought are transcending that 
ideal more and more. Altruism in morals, idealism in art, nay, even the 
sentiment of piety itself, as a decorative grace of life, — all these, it is 
urged, are consistent with a complete and contented ignorance as to aught 
beyond the material world. 

I need not here embark on the controversy as to how far this aspira- 
tion towards " the things of the spirit " is logically consistent with a creed 
that stops short with the things of sense. It is quite enough for my 
present purpose to point out that here also, as in the case of more definite 
religions, we have a system of beliefs and emotions which may indeed 
be able to accommodate themselves to modern science, but which are in 
no sense supported thereby ; rather which science must regard as, at 
best, a kind of phosphorescence which plays harmlessly about minds 
that Nature has developed by other processes and for other ends than 

For my argument is that here again, as in the case of religion, tele- 
pathy, as we affirm it in this book, would be the first indication of a pos- 
sible scientific basis for much that now lacks not only experimental 
confirmation, but even plausible analogy. We have seen how much sup- 
port the preliminary theses of religion may acquire from an assured 
conviction that the human mind is at least capable of receiving super- 
normal influences, — is not closed, by its very structure, as the Materialists 
would tell us, to any " inbreathings of the spirit " which do not appeal 
to outward eye or ear. And somewhat similar is the added reality which 
the discovery of telepathy gives to the higher flights, the subtler shades, 
of mere earthly emotion. 

" Star to star vibrates light; may soul to soul 
Strike thro' some finer element of her own ? " 


The lover, the poet, the enthusiast in any generous cause, has in 
every age unconsciously answered Lord Tennyson's question for himself. 
To some men, as to Goethe, the assurance of this subtle intercommunica- 
tion has come with vivid distinctness in some passion -shaken hour. Others, 
as Bacon, have seemed to gather it from the imperceptible indicia of a 
lifelong contemplation of man. But the step which actual experimenta- 
tion, the actual collection and collation of evidence, has now, as we believe, 
effected, is a greater one than could have been achieved by any individual 
intuition of bard or sage. For we have for the first time a firm foothold 
in this impalpable realm ; we know that these unuttered messages do 
truly travel, that these emotions mix and spread ; and though we refrain 
as )^et from further dwelling on the corollaries of this far-reaching law, 
it is not because such speculations need any longer be baseless, but because 
we desire to set forth the proof of our theorem in full detail before we do 
more than hint at the new fields which it opens to human thought. 

§ 13. Pausing, therefore, on the threshold of these vaguer promises, 
I may indicate another direction, in which few will deny that a systematic 
investigation like ours ought to produce results eminently salutary. It 
ought to be as much our business to check the growth of error as to pro- 
mote the discovery of truth. And there is plenty of evidence to show 
that so long as we omit to subject all alleged supernormal phenomena to a 
thorough comparative scrutiny, we are not merely postponing a possible 
gain, but permitting an unquestioned evil. 

It should surely be needless in the present day to point out that no 
attempt to discourage inquiry into any given subject which strongly 
interests mankind, will in reality divert attention from the topic thus 
tabooed. The savant or the preacher may influence the readers of scientific 
hand-books, or the members of church congregations, but outside that 
circle the subject will be pursued with the more excited eagerness because 
regulating knowledge and experienced guidance are withdrawn. 

And thus it has been with our supernormal phenomena. The men 
who claim to have experienced them have not been content to dismiss 
them as unseasonable or unimportant. They have not relegated them 
into the background of their lives as readily as the physiologist has rele- 
gated them into a few paragraphs at the end of a chapter. On the contrary, 
they have brooded over them, distorted them, misinterpreted them. 
Where savants have minimised, they have magnified, and the perplexing 
nodes of marvel which the textbooks ignore, have become, as it were, 
the ganglia from which all kinds of strange opinions ramify and spread. 

The number of persons whose minds have been actually upset either 
by genuine psychical phenomena, or by their fraudulent imitation, is 
perhaps not large. But the mischief done is by no means confined to 
these extreme cases. It is mischievous, surely — it clashes roughly with 
our respect for human reason, and our belief in human progress — that 
religions should spring up, forms of worship be established, which in effect 
do but perpetuate a mistake and consecrate a misapprehension, which 
carry men not forward, but backward in their conception of unseen 

The time has not yet come for an attempt to trace in detail the per- 


version which each branch of these supernormal phenomena has under- 
gone in ardent minds ; — the claims to sanctity, revelation, prophecy, 
which a series of enthusiasts, and of charlatans, have based on each 
class of marvels in turn. But two forms of creed already mentioned may 
again be cited as convenient examples — the Irvingite faith of the mis- 
interpretation of automatism, the Swedenborgian of the misinterpretation 
of (so-called) clairvoyance. Still more singular have been the resultant 
beliefs when to the assemblage of purely psychical marvels a physical 
ingredient has been added, of a more disputable kind. For linked in 
various ways with records of automatic cerebration, of apparitions, of 
vision and revelation, come accounts of objective sounds, of measurable 
movements, which may well seem an unwarrantable intrusion into the 
steady order of the ponderable world. And in the year 1848 certain 
events, whose precise nature is still in dispute, occurred in America, in 
consequence of which many persons were led to believe that under appro- 
priate circumstances these sounds, these movements, these tangible 
apparitions, could be evoked or reproduced at will. On this basis the 
creed of " Modern Spiritualism " has been upbuilt. And here arises the 
pressing question — notoriously still undecided, difficult and complex 
beyond any anticipation — as to whether supernormal phenomena of 
this physical kind do in fact occur at all ; or whether they are in all cases 
— as they undoubtedly have been in many cases — the product of mere 
fraud or delusion. This question, as it seems to us, is one to which we 
are bound to give our most careful attention ; and if we have as yet 
failed to attain a decisive view, it is not for want of laborious observation, 
continued by several of us throughout many years. But we are unwilling 
to pronounce until we have had ample opportunities — opportunities which 
so far we have for the most part sought in vain — of investigating pheno- 
mena obtained through private sources, and free, at any rate, from the 
specific suspicion to which the presence of a " paid medium " inevitably 
gives rise. 

I need not add further illustrations of the cautionary, the critical 
attitude which befits such a Society as ours at the present juncture. This 
attitude is in one way unavoidably ungracious ; for it has sometimes 
precluded us from availing ourselves of the labours of predecessors whose 
zeal and industiy^ we should have been glad to praise. The time, we hope, 
will come when enough of daylight shall shine upon our path to make 
possible a discriminating survey of the tracks which scattered seekers 
have struck out for themselves in the confusion and dimness of dawn. 
At present we have mainly to take heed that our own groping course 
shall at least avoid the pitfalls into which others have fallen. Anything 
like a distribution of awards of merit would be obviously premature on 
the part of men whose best hope must be that they may conduct the 
inquiry into a road firm enough to enable others rapidly to outstrip 


§ 14. Enough, however, has now been said to indicate the general 
tenor of the task which the Society for Psychical Research has under- 
taken. It remains to indicate the place which the present work occupies 


in the allotted field, and the reasons for offering it to public considera- 
tion at this early stage of our inquiry. 

We could not, of course, predict or pre-arrange the order in which 
opportunities of successful investigation might occur to the searchers 
in this labyrinth of the imknown. Among the groping experiments 
which seemed to have only too often led to mere mistake and confusion, 
— the " thousand pathways " 

"qua signa sequendi 
Falleret indeprensus et inremeabilis error," — • 

it was not easy to choose with confidence our adit of exploration. The 
approach which proved most quickly productive was one from which it 
might have seemed that there was little indeed. to hope. A kind of drawing- 
room game sprang up — it is hard to say whence — a method of directing 
a subject to perform a desired act by a contact so slight that no conscious 
impulsion was either received or given. Careful observers soon ranked 
the " willing-game " as an illustration of involuntary muscular action 
on the willer's part, affording a guidance to which the subject yielded 
sometimes without being aware of it. But while the modus operandi of 
public exhibitions of this misnamed " thought-reading " was not difi&cult 
to detect, Professor [now Sir William] Barrett was one of the first who 
— while recognising all these sources of error — urged the duty of persistent 
watching for any residuum of true thought-transference which might 
from time to time appear. As will be seen from Chap. II. of this book 
it was not till after some six years of inquiry and experiment (1876-82) 
that definite proof of thought-transference in the normal state could be 
placed before the world. This was done in an article in the Nineteenth 
Century for June, 1882, signed by Professor Barrett, Mr. Gurney, and my- 
self. The phenomenon of transmission of thought or sensation without 
the agency of the recognised organs of sense had been previously recorded 
in connection with the mesmeric state, but, so far as v>'e know, its occasional 
occurrence in the normal state was now for the first time m^ntained on 
the strength of definite experiment. And the four years 1882-1886 have 
witnessed a great extension of those experiments, which no longer rest 
on the integrity and capacity of the earliest group of observers alone. 

§ 15. The foundation of the Society for Psychical Research m 1882 
gave an opportunity to Mr. Gurne}/ and m3'self, as Hon. Sees, of a Literary 
Committee, to invite from the general public records of apparitions at 
or after death, and other abnormal occurrences. On reviewing the evi- 
dence thus obtained we were struck with the great predominance of alleged 
apparitions at or near the moment of death. And a new light seemed to be 
thrown on these phenomena by the unexpected frequency of accounts 
of apparitions of living persons, coincident with moments of danger or 
crisis. We were led to infer a strong analogy between our experimental 
cases of thought-transference and some of these spontaneous cases of what 
we call telepathy, or transference of a shock or impulse from one Uving 
person to another person at such a distance or under such conditions as 
to negative the possibility of any ordinary mode of transmission. An 
article, signed by Mr. Gurney and myself, in the Fortnightly Review for 
March, 1883, gave a first expression to the analogy thus suggested. The 


task of collection and scrutiny grew on our hands ; Mr. Podmore undertook 
to share our labours ; and the Council of the Society for Psychical Research 
requested us to embody the evidence received in a substantive work. 

It will be seen, then, that the theory of Telepathy, experimental 
and spontaneous, which forms the main topic of this book, was not chosen 
as our theme by any arbitrary process of selection, but was irresistibly 
suggested by the abundance and the convergence of evidence tending to 
prove that special thesis. We were, and are, equally g-nxions to inquire 
into many other alleged marvels — clairvoyance, haunted houses. Spiritual- 
istic phenomena, etc. — but telepathy is the subject which has first shown 
itself capable of investigation appearing to lead to a- positive result ; 
and it seemed well to arrange its evidence with sufficient fulness to afford 
at least a solid groundwork for further inquiry. 

And having been led to this choice by the nature of the actual evi- 
dence before us, we may recognise that there is some propriety in dealing 
first with an issue which, complex though it is, is yet simple as compared 
to other articles of our programme. For the fact, if it be one, of the 
direct action of mind upon mind has at least a generality which makes 
it possible that, like the law of atomic combination in chemistry, it may 
be a generalisation which, though grasped at first in a very simplified 
and imperfect fashion, may prove to have been the essential pre-requisite 
of future progress. 

§ 1 6. In a certain sense it may be said that this hidden action of 
one mind on another comes next in order of psychical discovery to the 
hidden action of the mind within itself. It will be remembered that the 
earliest scientific attempts to explain the phenomena of so-called Spiritual- 
ism referred them mainly to " unconscious cerebration " (Carpenter), or 
to what was virtually the same thing, " unconscious muscular action " 

Now these theories, in my view, were, so far as they went, not only 
legitimate, but the most logical which could have been suggested to 
explain the scanty evidence with which alone Faraday and Carpenter 
attempted to deal. This unconscious action of the mind was in reality 
the first thing which it was needful to take into account in approaching 
supernormal phenomena. I believe, indeed, that our knowledge of those 
hidden processes of mentation is still in its infancy, and I have elsewhere 
endeavoured to assign a wider range than orthodox science has yet ad- 
mitted to the mind's unconscious operation. ^ But the result of this further 
analysis has been (as I hold) not to show that ordinary physiological 
considerations will suffice (as Dr. Carpenter seems to suppose) to explain 
all the psychical problems involved, but rather to reveal the fact that 
these unconscious operations of the mind do not follow the familiar 
channels alone, but are themselves the facilitation or the starting-point 
of operations which to science are wholly new. 

To state the matter broadly, so as to include in a common formula 
the unremembered utterances of the hypnotic subject, and the involuntary 
writings of the waking automatist, I would maintain that when the horizon 
of consciousness is altered, the opening field of view is not always or wholly 

^ See Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vols. ii. and iii. 


filled by a mere mirage or refraction of objects already familiar, but 
does, on rare occasions, include new objects, as real as the old. And 
amongst the novel energies thus liberated, the power of entering into direct 
communication with other intelligences seems to stand plainly forth. 
Among the objects in the new prospect are fragments of the thoughts 
and feelings of distant minds. It seems, at any rate, that some element 
of telepathy is perpetually meeting us throughout the whole range of these 
inquiries. In the first place, thought-transference is the only super- 
normal phenomenon which we have as yet acquired the power of inducing, 
even occasionally, in the normal state. It meets us also in the hypnotic 
trance, under the various forms of " community of sensation," " silent 
willing," and the like. Among the alleged cases of " mesmeric clair- 
voyance " the communication of pictures of places from operator to 
subject seems the least uncertain ground. And again, among phenomena 
commonly attributed to " spirits " (but many of which may perhaps 
be more safely ascribed to the automatic agency of the sensitive himself), 
communication of thought still furnishes our best clue to " trance- 
speaking," " clairvoyant vision," answers to mental questions and the 
like. It need not, therefore, surprise us if, even in a field so apparently 
remote from all ordinary analogies as that of apparitions and death- 
wraiths, we still find that telepathy affords our most satisfactory clue. 

§ 17. And here would seem to be the fitting place to explain why we 
have given the title of " Phantasms of the Living " to a group of records 
most of which will present themselves to the ordinary reader as narra- 
tives of apparitions of the dead. 

When we began, in a manner to be presently described, to collect 
accounts of experiences which our informants regarded as inexplicable 
by ordinary laws, we were of course ignorant as to what forms these 
experiences would mainly take. But after printing and considering 
over two thousand depositions which seemed primd facie to deserve 
attention, we find that more than half of them are narratives of appear- 
ances or other impressions coincident either with the death of the person 
seen or with some critical moment in his life-history. 

The value of the accounts of apparitions after death is lessened, more- 
over, by a consideration which is obvious enough as soon as these narra- 
tives come to be critically considered. The difficulty in dealing with 
all these hallucinations — with all appearances to which no persistent 
three-dimensional reality corresponds — is to determine whether they are 
veridical, or truth-telling — whether, that is, they do in fact correspond 
to some action which is going on in some other place or on some other 
plane of being ; — or whether, on the other hand, they are merely morbid 
or casual — the random and meaningless fictions of an over-stimulated 
eye or brain. Now, in the case of apparitions at the moment of death 
or crisis, we have at any rate an objective fact to look to. If we can prove 
that a great number of apparitions coincide with the death of the person 
seen, we may fairly say, as we do say, that chance alone cannot explain 
this coincidence, and that there is a causal connection between the two 
events. But if I have a vision of a friend recently dead, and on whom 
my thoughts have been dwelling, we cannot be sure that this may not 


be a merely delusive hallucination — the mere offspring of my own brooding 
sorrow. In order to get at all nearly the same degree of evidence for a 
dead person's appearance that we can get for a dying person's appearance, 
it seems necessary that the apparition should either communicate some 
fact known only to the deceased, or should be noted independently by 
more than one person at once or successively. And our evidence of this 
kind is at present scarcely sufficient to support any assured conclusion. ^ 

When, therefore, we are considering whether the phantasms of dying 
persons may most fitly be considered as phantasms of the dead or of 
the living, we find little support from analogy on the side of posthumous 
apparitions. And on the other hand, as already hinted, we have many 
cases where the apparition has coincided with violent shocks, — carriage 
accidents, fainting fits, epileptic fits, etc., which nevertheless left the 
agent — as we call the person whose semblance is seen, — as much alive 
as before. In some cases the accident is almost a fatal one ; as when a 
man's phantom is seen at the moment when he is half-drowned and in- 
sensible. In such a case it would seem illogical to allow the mere fact 
of his restoration or non-restoration to life to rank his phantom as that 
of a living person in the one case, of a dead person in the other. It seems 
simpler to suppose that if two men fall overboard to-day and their respec- 
tive phantoms are seen by their friends at the moment, — then, though 
one man should be restored to life and the other not, — yet if the first 
phantom was that of a living man, so also was the second. 

Nay more, even if the apparition be seen some hours later than the 
moment of apparent death, there are still reasons which prevent us from 
decisively classing it as the apparition of a dead man. In the first place, 
the moment of actual death is a very uncertain thing. When the heart's 
action stops the organism continues for some time in a state very different 
from that of ordinary inanimate matter. In such an inquiry as ours 
it is safer to speak, not of death, but of " the process of dissolution," 
and to allow for the possible prolongation of some form of psychical 
energy even when, for instance, the attempt to restore respiration to a 
drowned man has definitely failed. And in the second place, we find in 
the case of phantasms corresponding to some accident or crisis which 
befalls a living friend, that there seems often to be a latent period before 
the phantasm becomes definite or externalised to the percipient's eye or 
ear. Sometimes a vague malaise seems first to be generated, and then 
when other stimuli are deadened, — as at night or in some period of repose, 
— the indefinite grief or uneasiness takes shape in the voice or figure 
of the friend who in fact passed through his moment of peril some hours 
before. It is quite possible that a deferment of this kind may sometimes 
intervene between the moment of death and the phantasmal announce- 
ment thereof to a distant friend. 

These, then, are reasons, suggested by actual experience, for ascribing 
our phantasms at death to living rather than to dead men. And there 
is another consideration, of a more general order, which points in the 
sfime direction. We must not rashly multiply the problems involved in 
this difficult inquiry. Now Science, it is needless to say, offers no assur- 

^ See Mrs. Sidgwick's paper on " The Evidence, collected by the Society, for 
Phantasms of the Dead," in Proceedings of the S.P.R., vol. iii. 


ance that man survives the tomb ; and although in Christian countries 
our survival is an established doctrine, this does not carry with it any 
dogma as to the possibility that communications should reach us from 
departed spirits. The hypothesis, then, that apparitions are ever directly 
caused by dead persons is one which ordinary scientific caution bids us 
to be very slow in introducing. Should it afterwards be established that 
departed spirits can communicate with us, the interpretation placed 
upon various cases contained in this volume may need revision. But 
for the present it is certainly safer to inquire how far they can be explained 
by the influences or impressions which, as we know by actual experiment, 
living persons can under certain circumstances exert or effect on one 
another, in those obscure supersensory modes which we have provision- 
ally massed together under the title of Telepathy. 

§ 1 8. The main theses of this book, then, are now capable of being 
stated in a very simple form. 

I. Experiment proves that telepathy — the supersensory^ transference 
of thoughts and feelings from one mind to another — is a fact in Nature. 

II. Testimony proves that phantasms (impressions, voices, or figures) of 
persons undergoing some crisis, — especially death, — are perceived by their 
friends and relatives with a frequency which mere chance cannot explain. 

III. These phantasms then, whatever else they may be, are instances 
of the supersensory action of one mind on another. The second thesis 
therefore confirms, and is confirmed by, the first. For if telepathy exists, 
we should anticipate that it would exhibit some spontaneous manifestations, 
on a scale more striking than our experimental ones. And, on the other hand, 
apparitions are rendered more credible and comprehensible by an analogy 
whch for the first time links them with the results of actual experiment. 

Such are the central theses of this work, — theses on which its authors, 
and the friends whom the}^ have mainly consulted, are in entire agree- 
ment. The first thesis may, of course, be impugned by urging that our 
experiments are fallacious. The second thesis may be impugned by urging 
that our testimony is insufficient. The third thesis, as I have here worded 
it, is hardly open to separate attack ; being a corollary which readily 
follows if the first two theses are taken as proved. 

This, however, is only the case so long as the third thesis, which 
asserts the analogy between thought-transference and apparitions — 
between experimental and spontaneous telepathy — is stated in a vague 
and general form. So soon as we attempt to give more precision to this 
analogy — to discuss how far the unknown agency at work can be supposed 
to be the same in both cases — or how far the apparitions may be referable 
to quite other, though cognate, laws, — we enter on a field where even 
those who have accepted the analogy in general terms are likely to find 
the evidence leading them to somewhat divergent conclusions. Of two 
men independently studying our records of apparitions, the one will 
almost inevitably press their analogy to simple telepathy further than 
the other. And each will be able to plead that he has been guided as far 

^ By " supersensory " I mean " independent of the recognised channels of sense" 
I do not mean to assert that telepathic perception either is or is not analogous to 
sensory perception of the recognised kinds. 


as possible by an instinct of scientific caution in thus judging of matters 
strange and new. The first will say that " causes are not to be multiplied 
without necessity," and that we have now in telepathy a vera causa 
whose furthest possibilities we ought to exhaust before invoking still 
stranger, still remoter agencies, whose very existence we are not in a 
position to prove. He will feel bound therefore to dwell on the points 
on which our knowledge either of telepathy, or of the mechanism of 
hallucinations in general, throw some light ; and he will set aside as at 
present inexplicable such peculiarities of our evidence as cannot well 
be brought within this scheme. 

The second inquirer, on the other hand, will perhaps feel strongly that 
telepathy, as we now know it, is probably little more than a mere pre- 
liminary conception, a simplified mode of representing to ourselves a group 
of phenomena which, as involving relations between minds, may probably 
be more complex than those which involve even the highest known forms of 
matter. He will feel that, while we hold one clue alone, we must be careful 
not to overrate its efficacy ; we must be on the watch for other approaches, 
for hints of inter-relation between disparate and scattered phenomena. 

It is to the first of these two attitudes of mind, — the attitude which 
deprecates extraneous theorising, — that Mr. Gurney and Mr. Podmore 
have inclined ; and the committal of the bulk of this work to Mr. Gurney's 
execution indicates not only that he has been able to devote the greatest 
amount of time and energy to the task, but also that his view is on the 
whole the most nearly central among the opinions which we have felt it 
incumbent on us to consult. We have no wish, however, to affect a closer 
agreement than actually exists ; and in a " Note on a Suggested Mode 
of Psychical Interaction " [omitted in the present edition. — Ed.], I shall 
submit a view which differs from Mr. Gurney's on some theoretical points. 

§ ig. The theories contained in this book, however, bear a small 
proportion to the mass of collected facts. A few words as to our method 
of collection may here precede Mr. Gurney's full discussion (Chapter IV) 
of the peculiar difficulties to which our evidence is exposed. 

It soon became evident that if our collection was to be satisfactory 
it must consist mainly of cases collected by ourselves, and of a great 
number of such cases. ^ The apparitions at death, etc., recorded by 
previous writers, are enough, indeed, to show that scattered incidents 
of the kind have obtained credence in many ages and conntries. But they 
have never been collected and sifted with any systematic care ; and few 
of them reach an evidential standard which could justify us in laying 
them before our readers. And even had the existing stock of testimony 
been large and well-assured, it would still have been needful for us to 
collect our own specimens in situ, — to see, talk with, and correspond 
with the persons to whose strange experiences so much weight was to be 
given. This task of personal inquiry, — whose traces will, we hope, be 
sufficiently apparent throughout the present work, — has stretched itself 
out beyond expectation, but has also enabled us to speak with a con- 

^ [The presenfcatioQ of tMs "great number " of cases has been impossible in this 
abridged edition, and those retained must be regarded ae typical rather than as 
impressive by their number. — Ed.] 


fidence which could not have been otherwise acquired. One of its ad- 
vantages is the security thus gained as to the bona fides of the witnesses 
concerned. They have practically placed themselves upon their honour ; 
nor need we doubt that the experiences have been, as a rule, recounted 
in all sincerity. As to unintentional errors of observation and memory, 
Mr. Gurney's discussion will at least show that we have had abundant 
opportunities of learning how wide a margin must be left for human 
carelessness, forgetfulness, credulity. " God forbid," said the flute- 
player to Philip of Macedon, " that your Majesty should know these 
things as well as 1 1 " 

It must not, however, be inferred from what has been said that our 
informants as a body have shown themselves less shrewd or less accurate 
than the generality of mankind. On the contrary, we have observed 
with pleasure that our somewhat persistent and probing method of 
inquiry has usually repelled the sentimental or crazy wonder-mongers 
who hang about the outskirts of such a subject as this ; while it has met 
with cordial response from an unexpected number of persons who feel 
with reason that the very mystery which surrounds these incidents makes 
it additionally important that they should be recounted with sobriety 
and care. The straightforward style in which most of our informants 
have couched their narratives, as well as the honoured names which 
some of them bear, may enable the reader to share something of the 
confidence which a closer contact with the facts has inspired in our own 

Again, it seemed necessary that the collection offered to the public 
should be a very large one, even at the cost of including in a Supplement 
[omitted in the present edition. — Ed.] some remote or second-hand cases 
besides the first-hand cases which alone are admitted into the chapters of 
this book. If, indeed, our object had been simply to make out a case for 
the connection of deaths with apparitions, we might have offered a less 
assailable front, and should certainly have spared ourselves much trouble, 
had we confined ourselves to giving in detail a few of the best-attested 
instances. But what we desired was not precisely this. We hope, no 
doubt, that most of our readers may ultimately be led to conclusions 
resembling our own. But before our conclusions can expect to gain 
general acceptance, many other hypotheses will doubtless be advanced, 
and coincidence, superstition, fraud, hysteria, will be invoked in various 
combinations to explain the evidence given here. We think, therefore, 
that it is our duty in so new a subject to afford full material for hj^potheses 
discordant with our own ; to set forth cases drawn from so wide a range 
of society, and embracing such a variety of circumstances, as to afford 
scope for every mode of origination or development of these narratives 
which the critic may suggest. 

Furthermore, the whole subject of hallucinations of the sane — which 
hitherto has received very scanty treatment — seems fairly to belong to 
our subject, and has been treated by Mr. Gumey in Chapter XI. We 
have throughout contended that a knowledge of abnormal or merely 
morbid phenomena is an indispensable pre-requisite for the treating of 
any supernormal operations which may be found to exist under somewhat 
similar forms of manifestation. 


Once more, it was plainly desirable to inquire whether hypotheses, 
now admitted to be erroneous, had ever been based in past times on 
evidence in any way comparable to that which we have adduced. The 
belief in witchcraft, from its wide extent and its nearness to our own 
times, is the most plausible instance of such a parallelism. And Mr. 
Gurney, in his Note on Chapter IV [omitted in the present edition. — Ed.], 
has given the results of an analysis of witch-literature more laborious than 
previous authors had thought it worth while to undertake. The result 
is remarkable ; for it appears that the only marvels for which respectable 
testimony was adduced consist obviously of ignorant descriptions of 
hypnotic and epileptiform phenomena now becoming familiar to science ; 
while as to the monstrous stories — copied from one uncritical writer 
into another — which have given to this confused record of hypnotic and 
hysterical illusions the special aromas (so to say) of witchcraft or lycan- 
thropy, — these prodigies have scarcely ever the slightest claim to be 
founded on any first-hand evidence at all. 

§ 20. But while the material here offered for forming an opinion on 
all these points is, no doubt, much larger than previous writers have been 
at the pains to amass, we are anxious, nevertheless, to state explicitly 
that we regard this present collection of facts as merely preliminary ; 
this present work as merely opening out a novel subject ; these researches 
of a few persons during a few years as the mere first instalment of inquiries 
which will need repetition and reinforcement to an extent which none of 
us can as yet foresee. 

A change in the scientific outlook so considerable as that to which 
this volume points must needs take time to accomplish. Time is needed 
not only to spread the knowledge of new facts, but also to acclimatise 
new conceptions in the individual mind. Such, at least, has been our own 
experience ; and since the evidence which has come to us slowly and 
piecemeal is here presented to other minds suddenly and in a mass, we 
must needs expect that its acceptance by them will be a partial and 
gradual thing. What we hope for first is an increase in the number of 
those who are willing to aid us in our labours ; we trust that the fellow- 
workers in many lands to whom we already owe so much may be en- 
couraged to further collection of testimony, renewed experiment, when 
they see these experiments confirming one another in London, Paris, 
Berlin, — this testimony vouching for cognate incidents from New York 
to New Zealand, and from Manchester to Calcutta. 

With each year of experiment and registration we may hope that 
our results will assume a more definite shape — that there will be less 
of the vagueness and confusion inevitable at the beginning of a novel 
line of research, but naturally distasteful to the savant accustomed to 
proceed by measurable increments of knowledge from experimental 
bases already assured. Such an one, if he reads this book, may feel as 
though he had been called away from an ordnance survey, conducted 
with a competent staff and familiar instruments, to plough slowly with 
inexperienced mariners through some strange ocean where beds of en- 
tangling seaweed cumber the trackless way. We accept the analogy ; 
but we would remind him that even floating weeds of novel genera may 


foreshow a land unknown ; and that it was not without ultimate gain 
to men that the straining keels of Columbus first pressed through the 
Sargasso Sea. 

§ 21. Yet one word more. This book is not addressed to savants 
alone, and it may repel many readers on quite other than scientific grounds. 
Attempting as we do to carry the reign of Law into a sanctuary of belief 
and emotion which has never thus been invaded in detail, — lying in 
wait, as it w^ere, to catch the last impulse of the dying, and to question 
the serenity of the dead, — we may seem to be incurring the poet's curse 
on the man " who would peep and botanize upon his mother's grave," — 
to be touching the Ark of sacred mysteries with hands stained with labour 
in the profane and common field. 

How often have men thus feared that Nature's wonders would be 
degraded by being closelier looked into ! How often, again, have they learnt 
that the truth was higher than their imagination ; and that it is man's 
work, but never Nature's, which to be magnificent must remain unknown ! 
How would a disciple of Aristotle, — fresh from his master's conception 
of the fixed stars as types of godhead, — of an inhabitance by pure exist- 
ences of a supernal v/orld of their own, — how would he have scorned the 
proposal to learn more of those stars by dint of the generation of fetid 
gases and the sedulous minuteness of spectroscopic analysis ! Yet how 
poor, how fragmentary were Aristotle's fancies compared with our con- 
ception, thus gained, of cosmic unity ! our vibrant message from Sirius 
and Orion by the heraldry of the kindred flame ! Those imagined gods 
are gone ; but the spectacle of the starry heavens has become for us so 
moving in its immensity that philosophers, at a loss for terms of wonder, 
have ranked it with the Moral Law. 

If man, then, shall attempt to sound and fathom the depths that 
lie not without him, but within, analogy may surely warn him that the 
first attempts of his rude psychoscopes to give precision and actuality to 
thought will grope among " beggarly elements," — will be concerned with 
things grotesque, or trivial, or obscure. Yet here also one hand's-breadth 
of reality gives better footing than all the castles of our dream ; here also 
by beginning with the least things we shall best learn how great things may 
remain to do. 

The insentient has awoke, we know not how, into sentiency ; the 
sentient into the fuller consciousness of minds. Yet even human 
self-consciousness remains a recent, a perfunctory, a superficial thing ; 
and we must first reconstitute our conception of the microcosm, as of the 
macrocosm, before we can enter on those " high capacious powers " which, 
I believe, " lie folded up in man." 

F. W. H. M. 



§ I. Whatever the advances of science may do for the universe, there 
is one thing that they have never yet done and show no prospect of 
doing — namely, to make it less marvellous. Face to face with the facts 
of Nature, the wonderment of the modern chemist, physicist, zoologist, 
is far wider and deeper than that of the savage or the child ; far wider 
and deeper even than that of the early workers in the scientific field. 
True it is that science explains ; if it did not it would be worthless. But 
scientific explanation means only the reference of more and more facts 
to immutable laws ; and, as discovery advances in every department, 
the orderly marvel of the comprehensive laws merely takes the place 
of the disorderly marvel of arbitrary occurrences. The mystery is 
pushpd back, so to speak, from facts in isolation to facts in the aggregate ; 
but at every stage of the process the mystery itself gathers new force and 
impress! veness. 

What, then, is the specific relation of the man of science to the pheno- 
mena which he observes ? His explanation of them does not lead him to 
marvel at them less than the uneducated person : what does it lead him 
to do for them that the uneducated person cannot do ? "To predict 
them with certainty," it will no doubt be replied ; " which further implies, 
in cases where the conditions are within his control, to produce them 
at will." But it is important to observe that this power of prediction, 
though constantly proclaimed as the authoritative test of scientific 
achievement, is very far indeed from being an accurate one. For it is 
a test which is only fulfilled with anything like completeness by a small 
group of sciences — those which deal with inorganic nature. The physicist 
can proclaim with confidence that gravitation, and heat, and electricity 
(as long as they act at all) will continue to act as they do now ; every 
discovery that the chemist makes about a substance is a prophecy as to 
the behaviour of that class of substance for ever. But as soon as vital 
organisms appear on the scene, there is a change. Not only do the com- 
plexities of structure and process, and the mutual reactions of the parts 
and the whole, exclude all exact quantitative formulae ; not only is there 
an irreducible element of uncertainty in the behaviour from moment to 
moment of the simplest living unit; but there appear also developments, 
and varieties and " sports," which present themselves to us as arbitrary 
— which have just to be registered, and cannot be explained. Not, of 
course, that they are really arbitrary ; no scientifically trained mind 


entertains the least doubt that they are in every case the inevitable 
results of prior conditions. But the knowledge of the expert has not 
approximately penetrated to the secret of those conditions ; here, there- 
fore, his power of prediction largely fails him. 

This applies to a great extent even to events of a uniform and familiar 
order. Biological science may predict that an animal will be of the same 
species as its parents ; but cannot predict its sex. It may predict the 
general characteristics of the next generation of men ; but not the special 
attributes of a single individual. But its power of forecast is limited in 
a far more striking wajj- — by the perpetual modification of the very 
material with which it has to deal. It is able to predict that, given such 
and such variations, natural selection will foster and increase them ; 
that given such and such organic taints, heredity will transmit them : 
but it is powerless to say what the next spontaneous variation, or the 
next development of heredity will be. It is at work, not on steadfast 
substances with immutable qualities, like those of the inorganic world ; 
but on substances whose, very nature is to change. The evolution of 
animal existence, from protoplasm upwards, involves ever fresh elabora- 
tions in the composition of the vital tissues. Science traces the issue 
of these changes, and learns even to some extent to foresee and so to 
guide their course ; it can thus lay down laws of scientific breeding, laws 
of medicine and hygiene. But the unconquerable spontaneity of the 
organic world is for ever setting previous generalisations at defiance ; 
in great things and small, from the production of a new type of national 
physique to the production of a new variety of tulip, it is ever presenting 
fresh developments, whose necessity no one could divine, and of which 
no one could say aught until they were actually there. And so, though 
science follows closely after, and keeps up the game with spirit, its position 
in its Wonderland is always rather like that of Alice in hers, when the 
croquet-hoops consisted of soldiers who moved as often as they chose. 
The game is one on which it will never be safe to bet for very far ahead ; 
and it is one which will certainly never end. 

And if this is true of life in its physical manifestations, it is certainly 
not less true of its mental manifestations. It is to the latter, indeed, 
that we naturally turn for the highest examples of mobility, and the most 
marked exhibitions of the unaxpected. An Athenian of Solon's time, 
speculating on " the coming race," might well have predicted for his 
countrymen the physical prowess that won Marathon, but not the peculiar 
intellectual vitality that culminated in the theatre of Dionj'sus. At the 
present moment, it is safer to prophesy that the next generation in Ger- 
many will include a good many hundreds of thousands of short-sighted 
persons than that it will include a Beethoven. Nor will it surprise us to 
find the " sports " and uncertainties of vital development most conspicuous 
on the psychical side, if we remember the nature of their physical basis. 
For mental facts are indissolubly linked vv^ith the very class of material 
facts that science can least penetrate — with the most complex sort of 
changes occurring in the most subtly woven sort of matter—the molecular 
activities of brain-tissue. 

§ 2. There exists, then, a large department of natural events where 


the test of prediction can be applied only in a restricted way. Whether 
the events be near or distant — whether the question be of intellectual 
developments a thousand years hence, or of the movements of an amceba 
or the success of a " thought-transference " experiment in the next five 
m.inutes — there is here no voice that can speak with absolute authority. 
The expert gets his cosmic prophecies accepted by pointing to the per- 
petual fulfilment of his minor predictions in the laboratory ; or he refutes 
adverse theories by showing that they conflict with facts that he can 
at any moment render patent. But as to the implications and possibilities 
of life — the constitution and faculties of man — he will do well to predict 
and refute with caution ; for here he may fail even to guess the relation 
of what will be to what is. If his function as a prophet is not wholly 
abrogated, he is a prophet ever liable to correction. He is obliged to deal 
largely in likelihoods and tendencies ; and (if I may venture on a prophecy 
which is perhaps as fallible as the rest) the interest in the laws that he is 
able to lay down will never supersede the interest in the exceptions to 
those laws. Indeed it is in emphasising exceptions that his own role will 
largely consist. And above all must he beware of setting up any arbitrary 
" scientific frontier " between the part of Nature that he knows and the 
part that he does not know. He can trace the great flood of evolution 
to the point at which he stands ; but a little beyond him it loses itself 
in the darkness ; and though he may realise its general force and direction, 
and roughly surmise the mode in which its bed will be shaped, he can but 
dimly picture the scenes through which it v/ill flow. 

But if the science of life cannot be final, there is no reason why it 
should not be accurate and coherent. And if the scope of definite scientific 
comprehension is here specially restricted, and the unexpected is specially 
certain to occur, that is no reason for abating one jot of care in the actual 
work that it remains possible to do — the work of sifting and marshalling 
evidence, of estimating sources of error, and of strictly adjusting theories 
to facts. On the contrary, the necessity for such care is only increased. 
If incaution may be sometimes shown in too peremptorily shutting the door 
on alleged phenomena which are not in clear continuity with established 
knowledge, it is far more often and flagrantly shown in the claim for 
their admission. And it is undeniable that the conditions which have 
been briefly described expose speculation on the possible developments 
of vital phenomena to peculiar dangers and difficulties. In proportion 
as the expert moderates his tone, and makes his forecasts in a tentative 
and hypothetical manner, it is certain that those who are not experts 
will wax bold in assertion and theory. The part of the map that science 
leaves blank, as terra incognita, is the very one which amateur geographers 
will fill in according to their fancy, or on the reports of uncritical and 
untrustworthy explorers. The confidence of ignorance is always pretty 
accurately adjusted to the confidence of knowledge. Wherever the expert 
can put his foot down, and assert or deny with assurance, the uninstructed 
instinctively bow to him. He fearlessly asserts, for instance, that the 
law of the conservation of energy cannot be broken ; the world believes 
him, and the inventors of perpetual-motion machines graduallj'^ die off. 
But suppose the question is of possible relations of human beings to in- 
animate things or to one another, new modes of influence, new forms of 


sensitiveness. Here responsible science can give no confident denial ; 
here, therefore, irresponsible speculation finds its chance. It has, no 
doubt, modified its language under the influence of half a century of 
brilliant physical discovery. It takes care to shelter its hj'-potheses under 
the name of law : the loosest of philosophers nowadays would hesitate 
to appeal, as the elder Humboldt appealed sixty years ago, to a " sense 
of yearning in the human soul," as a proof that the course of nature may 
suSer exceptions.^ But the change is often rather in name than in fact ; 
the " natural " lends itself to free guessing quite as easily as the " super- 
natural " ; and nowhere in Nature is this freedom so unchartered as in 
the domain of psychic life. Speculation here is not only easy ; it is, un- 
fortunately, also attractive. The more obscure phenomena and the more 
doubtful assumptions are just those on which the popular mind most 
readily fastens ; and the popular tongue rejoices in terms of the biggest 
and vaguest connotation. Something also must be set down to a natural 
reaction. Even persons whose interest has been earnest and intelligent 
have found scientific moral hard to preserve, in departments surrendered 
by a long-standing convention of unscientific treatment. Thus, in their 
practice, they have come to acquiesce in that surrender, and have dis- 
pensed with habits of caution for which no one was likely to give them 
credit ; while in their polemic they have as much resented the stringent 
demands for evidence, in which their opponents have been right, as the 
refusal to look at it when it is there, in which their opponents have been 

§ 3. The above facts, and the peculiar obligations which they involve, 
should never be lost sight of by the serious student of " psychical "* 
phenomena. His path is one that eminently craves wary walking. On 
the one hand, he finds new dim vistas of study opening out, in an age 
whose ideal of scientific studies is formed from the most highly developed 
specimens of them ; and the twilight which has in every class of know- 
ledge preceded the illuminating dawn of law is made doubly dark and 
dubious for him by the advanced daylight of scientific conceptions from 
which he peers into it. He finds, moreover, that the marvellous recent 
extension of the area of the known through additions to its recognised 
departments and multiplication of their connections, has inevitably and 
reasonably produced a certain rigidity of scientific attitude — an increased 
difficulty in breaking loose from association, and admitting a new depart- 
ment on its own independent evidence. And on the other hand, he finds 
himself more or less in contact v;ith advocates of new departments who 
ignore the weight of the presumption against them — who fail to see 
that it is from the recognised departments that the standard of evidence 

^ Briefe an eine Freiindin, p. 61. 

^ The specific sense which we have given to this word needs apology. But we 
could find no other convenient term, under which to embrace a group of subjects 
that lie on or outside the boundaries of recognised science, while seeming to present 
certain points of connection among themselves. For instance, this book will contain 
evidences of the relation of telepathy — its main theme — both to mesmerism and to 
certain phenomena which are often, without adequate evidence, attributed to mind.s 
apart from material organisms. 


must be drawn, and that if speculation is to make good its right to outrun 
science, it will certainly not be by impatience of scientific canons. On this 
side the position of the psychical student is one in which the student of the 
recognised sciences is never placed. The physicist never finds his observa- 
tions confronted or confounded with those of persons who claim familiarity 
with his subject while ignoring his methods : he never sees his statements 
and his theories classed or compared with theirs. He is marked out 
from his neighbours by the very fact of dealing with subject-matter 
which they do not know how even to begin to talk about. The " psychicist" 
is not so marked out. His subject matter is in large measure common 
property, of which the whole world can talk as glibly as he ; and the ground 
which must be broken for science, if at all, by the application of precise 
treatment, has already been made trite in connection with quite other 

§ 4. The moral is one which the authors of the present undertaking 
have every reason to lay to heart. For the endeavour of this book, almost 
throughout, is to deal with themes that are in a sense familiar, by the 
aid, partly, of improved evidential methods, but partly also of concep- 
tions which have as yet no place in the recognised psychology. Not, 
indeed, that the reader is about to be treated to any large amount of 
speculation ; facts will be A-ery much more prominent than theories. 
Still, the facts to be adduced carry us at least one step beyond the accepted 
boundaries. What they prove (if we interpret them rightly) is the ability 
of one mind to impress or to be impressed by another mind otherwise than 
through the recognised channels of sense. We call the owner of the im- 
pressing mind the agent, and the owner of the impressed mind 
the percipient ; and we describe the fact of impression shortly 
by the term telepathy. We began by restricting that term to 
cases where the distance through which the transference of impressions 
took place far exceeded the scope of the recognised senses ; but it may 
be fairly extended to all cases of impressions convej'ed without an}' 
affection of the percipient's recognised senses, whatever may be his actual 
distance from the agent. I of course do not mean by this merely that the 
channel of communication is unrecognised by the person impressed — as 
in the drawing-room pastime where hidden pins are found through in- 
dications which the finder receives and acts on without any consciousness 
of guidance. By the words " otherwise than through the recognised 
channels of sense," I mean that the cause or condition of the transferred 
impression is specifically unknown. It may sometimes be necessary or 
convenient to conceive it as some special supernormal or supersensuous^ 
faculty ; and in that case we are undoubtedly assuming a faculty which 
is new — or at any rate is new to science. But we can at least claim that 
we take this step under compulsion ; not in the light-hearted fashion 
which formerly improvised occult forces and fluids to account for the 

1 It seems impossible to avoid these terms ; yet each needs to be guarded from a 
probable misunderstanding. Svpernormal is very liable to be confounded with super- 
natural ; while supersens^wu■s suggests a dogmatic denial of a physical side to the 


vagaries of hysteria ; or which in our own day has discovered the dawn 
of a new sense, or the reUc of some primeval instinct, in the ordinary 
exhibitions of the " willing-game." Our inference of an unrecognised 
mode of affection has nothing in common with such inferences as these ; 
for it has been made only after recognised modes have been carefully 

§ 5. It is not, however, with the ultimate conditions of the phenomena 
that the study of them can begin : our first business is with the reality, 
rather than with the rationale, of their occurrence. Telepathy as a system 
of facts is what we have to examine. Discussion of the nature of the novel 
faculty in itself, and apart from particular results, will be as far as possible 
avoided. That, if it exists, it has important relations to various very 
fundamental problems — meta.physical, psychological, possibly even physical 
— can scarcely be doubted. So far from the scientific study of man 
being a region whose boundaries are pretty well mapped out, and which 
only requires to be filled in with further detail by physiologists and psycho- 
logists, we may come to perceive that we are standing only on the thresh- 
old of a vast terra incognita, which must be humbly explored before we 
can even guess at its true extent, or appreciate its relation to the more 
familiar realms of knowledge. But such distant visions had better not 
be lingered over. Before the philosophical aspects of the subject can be 
profitably discussed, its position as a real department of knowledge 
must be amply vindicated. This can only be done by a wide survey of 
evidence ; the character of the present treatise will therefore be mainly 

In demonstrating the reality of impressions communicated otherwise 
than through the known sensory channels, Vv^e rely on two distinct branches 
of evidence, each of which demands a special sort of caution. The larger 
portion of this work will deal with cases of spontaneous occurrence. Here 
the evidence will consist of records of experiences which we have received 
from a variety of sources — for the most part from living persons more 
or less known to us. Narratives of the same kind have from time to time 
appeared in other collections. These, however, have not been treated 
with any reference to a theory of telepathy such as is here set forth ; nor 
have their editors fulfilled conditions which, for reasons to be subsequently 
explained (Chapter IV) , we have felt bound to observe ; and we have 
found them of almost no assistance. In scarcely a single instance has a 
case been brought up to the standard which really commands attention. ^ 
The prime essentials of testimony in such matters — authorities, names, 
dates, corroboration, the ipsissima verba of the witnesses — have one or 
all been lacking ; and there seems to have been no appreciation of the 
strength of the d. priori objections which the evidence has to overmaster, 
nor of the possible sources of error in the evidence itself. It is in analysing 
and estimating these sources of error, and in fixing the evidential standard 

' An exceplion sboulrl peiliaps be made in favour of a few of the late Mr. E. Dale 
Owen'.s narratives. The Rev. B. 'Wrcy-Savile's book on Apparitions contains some 
careful work, but it deals chiefly with remote cases. Dr. Mayo, in his Truths contmned 
in Popular Supcrslitions, adduces very inadequate evidence : but he has given (p.67) 
what is perhaps the first suggestion of a p.sychical explanation. 


which may fairly be applied, that the most difficult part of the present 
task will be seen to consist. 

But though the records here presented will be more numerous, and 
on the whole better attested, than those of previous collections, the 
majority of them will be of a tolerably v/ell-known type. The peculiarity 
of the present treatment will come out rather in the connection of this 
branch of our evidence with the other branch. For our conviction that 
the supposed faculty of supersensuous impression is a genuine one is 
greatly fortified by a body of evidence of an experimental kind — where 
the conditions could be arranged in such a way as to exclude the chances 
of error that beset the spontaneous cases. In considering this experi- 
mental branch of our subject, I shall of course, after what has been said, 
be specially bound to make clear the distinction between what we hold 
to be genuine cases and the spurious " thought-reading " exhibitions 
which are so much better known. This will be easy enough, and will be 
done in the next chapter. 



§ I. It IS difficult to get a quite satisfactory name for the experimental 
branch of our subject. " Thought-reading " was the name that we 
first adopted ; but this had several inconveniences. Oddly enough, 
the term has got identified with what is not thought-Teading at all, but 
muscle-residmg — of which more anon. But a more serious objection 
to it is that it suggests a power to read anything that may be going on 
in the mind of another person — to probe characters and discover secrets 
— which raises a needless prejudice against the whole subject. The idea 
of such a power has, in fact, been converted into an ad absurdum argument 
against the existence of the faculty for which we contend. To suppose 
that people's minds can be thus open to one another, it was justly enough 
said, would be to contradict the assumption on which all human inter- 
course has been carried on. Our answer, of course, is that we have never 
supposed pcOjple's minds to be thus open to one another ; that such a 
supposition would be as remote as possible from the facts on which we 
rely ; and that the most accomplished " thought-reader's " power is 
never likely to be a matter of social inconvenience. The mode of experi- 
mentation may reassure those who look on the genuine faculty as dangerous 
or uncanny ; for the results, as a rule, have to be tried for by a distinct, 
and often a very irksome, process of concentration on the part of the 
person whose " thought " is to be " read." And this being so, it is clearly 
important to avoid such an expression as " thought-reading," which 
conveys no hint that his thought is anything else than an open page, 
or that his mental attitude has anything to do with the phenomenon. 

The experiments involve, in fact, the will of two persons ; and of 
the two minds, it is rather the one which reads that is passive and the 
one M^hicli is read that is active. It is for the sake of recognising this that 
we distinguish the two parties as " agent " and " percipient," and that 
we have substituted for thought-reading the term thought-transference. 
Thought must here be taken as including more than it does in ordinary 
usage ; it must include sensations and volitions as well as mere repre- 
ssntations or ideas. This being understood, the name serves its purpose 
fairly well, as long as we are on experimental ground. It will not be for- 
gotten, however, that our aim is to connect an experimental with a spon- 
taneous class of cases ; and according to that view it will often be con- 
venient to describe the former no less than the latter as telepathic. We 
thus get what we need, a single generic term which embraces the whole 


range of phenomena and brings out their continuity — the simpler experi- 
mental forms being the first step in a graduated series. 

§ 2. The history of experimental thought-transference has been a 
singular one. It was not by direct trial, nor in what we should now 
account their normal form, that the phenomena first attracted the atten- 
tion of competent witnesses. Their appearance was connected with 
the discovery that the somnambulic state could be artificially induced. 
It was after the introduction of " mesmerism " or " magnetism " into 
France, and in the course of the investigation of that wider subject, that 
this special feature unexpectedly presented itself. The observations 
remained, it is true, extremely few and scattered. The greater part of 
them were made in this country, during the second quarter of the present 
[nineteenth] century ; and took the form of community of sensation be- 
tween the operator and the patient. The transference of impressions here 
depended on a specific rapport previously induced by mesmeric or hypnotic 
operations — passes, fixation, and the like. To us, now, this mesmeric 
rapport (in some, at any rate, of its manifestations) seems nothing more 
than the faculty of thought-transference confined to a single agent and 
percipient, and intensified in degree by the very conditions which limit 
its scope. But the course of discovery inverted the logical order of the 
phenomena. The recognition of the particular case, where the exercise 
of the faculty was narrowed down to a single channel, preceded by a long 
interval the recognition of the more general phenomena, as exhibited by 
persons in a normal state. The transference of impressions was naturally 
regarded as belonging essentially to mesmerism. As such, it was only 
one more wonder in a veritable wonderland ; and while obtaining on that 
account the readier acceptance among those W'lYio witnessed it, it to some 
extent shut out the idea of the possibility of similar manifestations where 
no specific rapport had been artificially established. 

But there was a further result. The early connection of thought- 
transference with mesmerism distinctly damaged its chance of scientific 
recognition. Those who believed in cognate marvels might easily believe 
in this marvel : but cautious minds rejected the whole posse of marvels 
together. And one can hardly wonder at this, when one remembers the 
wild and ignorant manner in which the claims of Mesmer and his followers 
were thrust upon the world. A man who professed to have magnetised 
the sun could hardly expect a serious hearing ; and even the operators 
who eschewed such extravagant pretensions still too often advocated 
their cause in a language that could only cover it with contempt. Theories 
of " odylic " force, and of imponderable fluids pervading the body — as 
dogmatically set forth as if they ranked in certainty with the doctrine 
of the circulation of the blood — were not likely to attract scientific inquiry 
to the facts. And in the later developments of hypnotism — in which many 
of the old " mesmeric " phenomena have been restudied from a truer 
point of view, and rapport of a certain sort betv/een the hypnotist and the 
" subject " has been admitted — there has been so much to absorb ob- 
servation in the extraordinary range of mental and physical effects 
which the operator can command by verbal or visible suggestion, that 
the far rarer telepathic phenomena have, so to speak, been crowded 


out.i The consequence is that after nearly a century of controversy, the 
most interesting facts of mesmeric history are quite as Httle recognised as 
the less specialised kinds of thought-transference, which have only within 
the last few years been seriously looked for or definitely obtained. 

Some of the older cases referred to will be found quoted in extenso 
in the first chapter of the Supplement [not here reproduced]. Though 
recorded for the most part in a fragmentary and unsatisfactory way, it 
will be seen that they do not lack good, or even high, scientific authority. 
The testimony of Mr. Esdaile, for many years Presidency Surgeon in 
Calcutta, cannot be despised by any instructed physiologist in our day ; 
inasmuch as his work is now recognised as one of the most important 
contributions ever made to the rapidly-growing science of hypnotism. 
No one has denied the ability and integrity of Dr. Elliotson, nor (in spite 
of his speculative extravagances) of Reichenbach — who both witnessed 
instances of hypnotic telepathy. And though Professor Gregory, Dr. 
Mayo, the Rev. C. H. Townsend, and others, may not have been men of 
acute scientific intelligence, they were probably competent to conduct, 
and to record with accuracy, experiments the conditions of which involved 
no more than common care and honesty. We cannot but account it 
strange that such items of testimony as these men supplied should have 
been neglected, even by those who were most repelled by the ignorance 
and fanaticism which infected a large amount of the mesmeric literature. 
But since such was the fact, the observations will hardly now make their 
weight felt, except in connection with the fuller testimony of a more 
recent date. It is characteristic of every subject v.'hich depends on ques- 
tions of fact, and which has yet failed to win a secure place in intelligent 
opinion, that any further advance must for the most part depend on con- 
temporary evidence. I may, therefore, pass at once to the wholly new 
departure in thought-transference which the last few years have witnessed. 

§ 3. The novelty of this departure — as has been already intimated — 
consists in the fact that successful results have been obtained when the 
percipient was apparently in a perfectly normal state, and had been 
subjected to no mesmerising or hypnotising process. The dawn of the 
discovery must be referred to the years 1875 and 1876. It was in the 
autumn of the latter year that our colleague. Professor W. F. Barrett 
[now Sir William Barrett] brought under the notice of the British Associa- 
tion, at Glasgow, a cautious statement of some remarkable facts which 
he had encountered, and a suggestion of the expediency of ascertaining 
how far recognised physiological laws would account for them. The 
facts themselves were connected with mesmerism ;* but the discussion 

^ I refer specially to the eminent group of hypnotists at Nancy — Dr. Liebeault, 
and Professors Beaunis, Bernheim, and Liegeois. Dr. Liebeault has, however, 
personally described to us several instances of apparently telepathic transference 
which he has encountered in the course of his professional experience ; and some 
observations recorded by Professor Beaunis (in his admirable article on hypnotism 
in the Revue Philosophique for August, 1885, p. 12G), at any rate point, as he admits, 
to a new mode of sensibility. And since the above remarks were written, both these 
gentlemen have made definite experiments in telepathy, some of the resuhs of vrhich 
will be found [quoted in the original edition]. 

- Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. i., pp. 241-2. 


in the Press to which the paper gave rise led to a considerable correspond- 
ence, in which Professor Barrett found his first hints of a faculty of thought- 
transference existing independently of the specific mesmeric rapport. 

That these hints happened to be forthcoming, just at the right m^oment, 
was a piece of great good fortune, and was due primarily to a circumstance 
quite unconnected with science, and from which serious results would 
scarcely have been anticipated — the invention of the " willing-game." 
In some form or other this pastime is probably familiar to most of my 
readers, either through personal trials or through the exhibitions of plat- 
form performers. The ordinary process is this. A member of the party, 
who is to act as " thought-reader," or percipient, leaves the room ; the 
rest determine on some simple action v/hich he, or she, is to perform, or 
hide some object which he is to find. The would-be percipient is then 
recalled, and his hand is taken or his shoulders are lightly touched by one 
or more of the willers. Under these conditions the action is often quickly 
performed or the object found. Nothing could at first sight look less like 
a promising starting-point for a new branch of inquiry. The " wilier " 
usually asserts, with perfect good faith, and often perhaps quite correctly, 
that he did not push ; but so little is it necessary for the guiding im- 
pression to be a push that it may be the very reverse — a slight release of 
tension when the " willed " performer, after various minute indications 
of a tendency to move in this, that, or the other wrong direction, at last 
hits on the right one. Even v/hen the utmost care is used to maintain 
the light contact with absolute neutrality, it is impossible to lay down 
the limits of any given subject's sensibilit5^ to such slight tactile and 
muscular hints. The experiments of Drs. Carpenter and Beard, and 
especially those of a member of our own Society, the Rev. E. H. Sugden, 
of Bradford, 1 and other unpublished ones on which we can rely, have 
shown us that the difference between one person and another in this respect 
is very great, and that with some organisations a variation of pressure so 
slight that the supposed " wilier " may be quite unaware of exercising 
it, but which he applies according as the movements of the other person 
are on the right track or not, may afford a kind of yes or no indication 
quite sufficient for a clue. This, indeed, is the one direct piece of instruc- 
tion which the game has supplied. We might perhaps have been to some 
extent prepared for the result b}^ observing the infinitesimal touches to 
which a horse v/ill respond, or the extremely slight indications on which 
we ourselves often act in ordinary life. But till this game was played, 
probably no one fully realised that muscular hints, so slight as to be 
quite unconsciously given, could be equally unconsciously taken ; and 
that thus a definite course of action might be produced without the 
faintest idea of guidance on either side. In some cases it appeared that 
even contact could be dispensed with, and the guidance was presumably 
of an auditory kind — the " subject " extracting from the mere footsteps 
of the " wilier," who was following him about, hints of satisfaction or 
dissatisfaction at the course he was taking.* But though this remarkable 
susceptibility to a particular order of impressions %vas an interesting dis- 

^ Proceedings of the S.P.B., vol. i., p. 291 ; vol. ii., p. 11. 

^ See the record of Mr. A. E. Outerbridge's experiments, published by Dr. Beard 
in the American Popular Science Monthly for July, 1877. 


covery, the results which could be thus explained clearly involved nothing 
new in kind. That recognised faculties may exhibit unsuspected degrees 
of refinement is a common enough conception. The more important 
point was that there were certain results which, apparently, could not 
be thus explained, at any rate, in any off-hand way. Occasionally the 
actions required of the " willed " performer were of so complicated a 
sort, and so rapidly carried out, as to cast considerable doubt on the 
adequacy of any muscular hints to evoke and guide them. Here, then, 
was the first indication of something new — of a hitherto unrecognised 
faculty ; and by good fortune, as I have said, Professor Barrett's appeal 
for further evidence as to transferred impressions came just at the time 
when the game had obtained a certain amount of popularity, and when 
its more delicate and unaccountable phenomena had attracted attention. 
Meanwhile similar observations were being made in America. America, 
indeed, was the original home of the " willing " entertainment ; and it 
is to an American, Dr. McGraw, that the credit belongs of having been 
the first (as far as I am aware) to detect in it the possible germ of some- 
thing new to science. In the Detroit Review of Medicine for August, 1875, 
Dr. McGraw gave a clear account of the ordinary physiological process — 
" the perception by a trained operator of involuntary and unconscious 
muscular movements " ; and then proceeded as follows : — 

" It seemed to me that there were features in these exhibitions which 
could not be satisfactorily explained on the hypothesis of involuntary 
muscular action, for . . . we are required to believe a man could un- 
willingly, and in spite of himself, give information by unconscious and 
involuntary signs that he could not give under the same circumstances by 
voluntary and conscious action. ... It seems to me there is a hint 
towards the possibility of the nervous system of one individual being 
used by the active will of another to accomplish certain simple motions." 

But though there might be enough in the phenomena to justify cautious 
suggestions of this sort, the ground is at best very uncertain. Even 
where some nicety of selection is involved, as, for instance, when a par- 
ticular note is to be struck on the piano, or a particular book to be taken 
out of a shelf, still, unless the subject's hand moves with extreme rapidity, 
it will be perfectly possible for an involuntary^ and unconscious indication 
to be given by the " wilier " at the instant that the right note or book 
is reached. In reports of such cases it is sometimes stated that there was 
no tentative process, and that the " subject's " hand seemed to obey the 
other person's will with almost the same directness as that person's own 
hand would have done. But this is a question of degree as to which the 
confidence of an eye-witness cannot easily be imparted to others. It may 
be worth while, however, to give an instance of a less common type by 
which the theory of muscular guidance does undoubtedly seem to be 
somewhat strained. 

The case was observed by Mr. Myers on October 31st, 1877. The 
performers were two sisters. 

" I wrote the letters of the alphabet on scraps of paper. I then 
thought of the word CLARA and showed it to M. behind R.'s back, R. 


sitting at the table. M. put her hands on R.'s shoulders, and R. with shut 
eyes picked out the letters C L A R V — taking the V apparently for a 
second A, which was not in the pack — and laid them in a heap. She did 
not know, she said, what letters she had selected. No impulse had 
consciously passed through her mind, only she had felt her hands impelled 
to pick up certain bits of paper. 

" This was a good case as apparently excluding pushing. The scraps 
were in a confused heap in front of R., who kept still further confusing 
them, picking them up and letting them drop with great rapidity. M.'s 
hands remained apparently motionless on R.'s shoulders, and one can 
hardly conceive that indications could be given by pressure, from the 
rapid and snatching manner in which R. collected the right letters, 
touching several letters in the course of a second. M., however, told me 
that it was always necessary that she, M., should see the letters which R. 
was to pick up." 

Such a case may not suggest thought-transference, but it at any rate 
tempts one to look deeper than crude sensory signs for the springs of 
action, and to conceive the governance of one organism by another through 
some sort of nervous induction. It at any rate differs greatly in its con- 
ditions from the famous bank-note trick, where a number is written on a 
board, so slowly, and in figures of so large a size, that at every point the 
" wilier " may mark his opinion of the direction the lines are taking by 
involuntary muscular hints. 

It would be useless to accumulate further instances. The best of them 
could never be wholly conclusive, and mere multiplication adds nothing 
to their weight. By some of them, as I have said, the theory of muscular 
guidance is undoubtedly strained. But then the theory of muscular 
guidance ought to be strained, and strained to the very utmost, before 
being declared inadequate ; and it would always be a matter of opinion 
whether the point of " utmost " strain had been overpassed. Dr. McGraw 
and Professor Barrett surmised that it had ; Dr. Beard, of New York, 
was confident that it had not. The contention between " mind-reading " 
and " muscle-reading " could never reach a definite issue on this ground. 
But meanwhile the confident and exclusive adherents of the muscular 
hypothesis had a position of decided advantage over the doubters, for 
they could fairly enough represent themselves as the champions of science 
in its war with popular superstitions. The popular imagination more 
siio had fastened on the phenomena en bloc, and had decided that they 
were what they seemed to be — " thought-reading." To the average 
sightseer a mysterious word is far more congenial than a physiological 
explanation ; and it was, of course, the interest of the professional ex- 
hibitor to adopt and advertise a description which seemed to invest him 
with novel and magical powers. What more natural, therefore, than that 
those who saw the absurdity of these pretensions should regard further 
inquiry or suspension of judgment as a concession to ignorant credulity ? 
" Irving Bishop," it seemed fair to argue, " is a professed ' thought- 
reader ' ; Irving Bishop's tricks are, at best, mere feats of muscular and 
tactile sensibility ; ergo whoever believes that there is such a thing as 
' thought-reading ' is on a par with the crowd who are mystified by 
Irving Bishop." 


§ 4. If, then, the ground of experiment had remained unchanged — 
if the old " wilhng-game " had merely continued to appear in various 
forms — no definite advance could have been made. But on the path 
of the old experiments, a quite new phenomenon now presented itself, 
which no one could have confidently anticipated, but for which the sug- 
gestions drav/n from the most advanced phenomena of the " willing- 
game " had to some extent prepared the way. It was discovered that not 
only transferences of impression could take place without contact, but that 
there was no necessity for the result aimed at to involve movements ; 
the fact of the transference might be shown, not — as in the " wdlling- 
game " — by the subject's ability to do something, but by his ability to 
discern and describe an object thought of by the " wilier." Both parties 
could thus remain perfectly still ; which was really a more important 
condition than even the absence of contact. In this form of experiment, 
muscle-reading and all the subtler forms of unconscious guidance are 
completely excluded ; and the dangers which remain are such as can, 
with sufficient care, be clearly defined and safely guarded against. In- 
dications of a visual kind — for instance, by the involuntary direction of 
glances — have no scope if the object which the percipient is to name 
is not present or visible in the room. There is, of course, an obvious 
danger in low whispering, or even soundless movements of the lips ; while 
the faintest accent of approval or disapproval in question or comment 
may give a hint as to whether the effort is tending in the right direction, 
and thus guide to the mark by successive approximations. Any exhibition 
of the kind before a promiscuous company is nearly sure to be vitiated 
by the latter source of error. But when the experiments are carried on 
in a limited circle of persons known to each other, and amenable to scientific 
control, it is not hard for those engaged to set a watch on their own and 
on each other's lips ; and questions and comments can be entirely for- 

I have been speaking of the danger of involuntary guidance. There 
is, of course, another danger to be considered — that of voluntary guidance — 
of actual collusion betv/een the agent and percipient. Contact being 
excluded, such guidance would have to be by signals ; and it is impos- 
sible to lay down any precise limit to" the degree of perfection that a plan 
of signalling may reach. The long and short signs of the Morse code 
admit of many varieties of application ; and though the channels of 
sight and touch may be cut off, it is difficult entirely to cut off that of 
hearing. Shufflings of the feet, coughs, irregularities of breathing, all offer 
available material. But though the precise line of possibilities in this 
direction cannot be drawn, we are at any rate able to suggest cases where 
the line would be clearly overpassed. For instance, if the idea to be 
transferred from the agent to the percipient is inexpressible in less than 
twenty words ; and if hearing is the only sensory channel left open ; and 
if it is carefully observed that there are no coughs or shufflings, and that 
the agent's breathing appears regular, then one seems justified in saying 
that the necessary information could not be conveyed by a code without 
a very considerable expenditure of time, and a very abnormally acute 
sense of hearing on the percipient's part. There is no relation whatever 
between a private experiment performed under such conditions as these, 


and the feats of a conjurer, like Mr. Maskelyne, who commands secret 
apparatus, and whose every word and gesture ma}^ be observed and 
interpreted by a concealed confederate. 

It would be rash, however, to represent as crucial any apparent trans- 
ferences of thought between persons not absolutely separated, where 
the good faith of at least one of the two is not accepted as beyond question, 
and where the genuineness of the result is left to depend on the perfection 
with v/hich third parties have arranged conditions and guarded against 
signs. The conditions of a crucial result, for one's own mind, are either 
(i) that the agent or the percipient shall be oneself ; or (2) that the agent 
or percipient shall be someone whose experience, as recorded by himself, 
is indistinguishable in certainty from one's own ; or (3) that there shall be 
several agents or percipients, in the case of each of whom the improbability 
of deceit, or of such imbecility as would take the place of deceit, is so 
great that the combination of improbabilities amounts to a moral im- 
possibility. The third mode of attaining conviction is the most practically 
important. For it is not to be expected of most people that, within a 
short time, they will either themselves be, or have intimate friends who 
are, successful agents or percipients ; and they are justified, therefore, 
in demanding that the evidence to which they might fairly refuse credence 
if it depended on the veracity and intelligence of one or two persons, of 
however unblemished a reputation, shall be multiplied for their benefit. 
Whatever be the experimenter's assurance as to the perfection of his 
conditions, it is in the nature of things impossible that strangers, who 
only read and have not seen, should be infected by it. They cannot be 
absolutely certain that this, that, or the other stick might not break ; 
then enough sticks must be collected and tied together to make a faggot 
of a strength which shall defy suspicion.^ As regards the experiments 
of which I am about to present a sketch, it is not necessary to my argu- 
ment that any individual's honesty shall be completely assumed, in the 
sense of being used as a certain basis for conclusions. The proof must 

^ In reference to the objection that the demand for quantity of evidence shov;s 
that we know the quality of each item to be bad, I may quote the following passage 
from a presidential address of Professor Sidgwick's : " The quality of much of cur 
evidence — when considered apart from the strangeness of the matters to which it 
refers — is not bad, but very good : it is such that one or two items of it would be 
held to establish the occurrence, at any particular time and place, of any phenomenon 
whose existence was generally accepted. Since, however, on this subject the best 
single testimony only yields a.n improbability of the testimony heing false that is 
outweighed by the improbability of the fact heing true, the only way to make the 
scale fall on the side of the testimony is to increase the quantity. If the testimony 
were not good, this increase of quantity would be of little value ; but if it is such 
that the hypothesis of its falsity requires us to suppose abnormal motiveless deceit, 
or abnormal stupidity or carelessness, in a person hitherto reputed honest and 
intelligent, then an increase in the number of cases in which such a supposition is 
required adds importantly to the improbability of the general hypothesis. It is 
sometimes said by loose thinkers that the ' moral factor ' ought not to come in at 
all. But the least reflection shows that the moral factor must come in in all the 
reasonings of experimental science, except for those who have personally repeated 
all the experiments on which their conclusions are based. Any one who accepts 
the report of the experiments of another must rely, not only on his intelligence, but 
on his honesty : only ordinarily his honesty is so completely assumed that the 
assumption is not noticed." 

t6 the experimental basis : [Chap. I 

depend on the number of persons, reputed honest and inteUigent, to whom 
dishonesty or imbeciUty must be attributed if the conclusions are wrong, 
i.e., it must be a cumulative proof. Not that my colleagues and I have 
any doubt as to the bona fides of every case here recorded. But even 
where our grounds of certainty are most obvious, they cannot be made 
entirely obvious to those to whom we and our more intimate associates 
are personally unknown ; while outside this inner circle our confidence 
depends on points that can scarcely even be suggested to others — on 
views of character gradually built up out of a number of small and often 
indefinable items of conversation and demeanour. We may venture to 
say that a candid critic, present during the whole course of the experi- 
ments, would have carried away a far more vivid impression of their 
genuineness than any printed record can convey. But it must be dis- 
tinctly understood that we discriminate our cases ; and that even where 
the results are to our own minds crucial — in that they can only be im- 
pugned by impugning the honesty or sanity of members of our own 
investigating Committee — we do not demand their acceptance on this 
ground alone, or attempt accurately to define the number of reputations 
which should be staked before a fair mind ought to admit the proof as 
overwhelming. As observations are accumulated, different " fair minds " 
will give in at different points ; and until the most exacting are satisfied, 
our task will be incomplete. 

§ 5. I mentioned above the correspondence which followed Professor 
Barrett's appeal for evidence. In this correspondence, among many 
instances of the higher aspects of the " willing-game," there was a small 
residue which pointed to a genuine transference of impression without 
contact or movement. Of this residue the most important item was that 
supplied by our friend, the Rev. A. M. Creery, then resident at Buxton, 
and now working in the diocese of Manchester. He had his attention 
called to the subject in October, 1880 ; and was early struck by the 
impossibility of deciding, in cases where contact was employed, how far 
the powers of unconscious muscular guidance might extend. He, there- 
fore, instituted experiments with his daughters and with a young maid- 
servant, in which contact was altogether eschewed. He thus describes 
the early trials : — 

" Each went out of the room in turn, while I and the others fixed on 
some object which the absent one was to name on returning to the room. 
After a few trials the successes preponderated so much over the failures 
that we were all convinced there was something very wonderful coming 
under our notice. Night after night, for several raonths, we spent an 
hour or two each evening in varying the conditions of the experiments, 
and choosing new subjects for thought-transference. We began by 
selecting the simplest objects in the room ; then chose names of towns, 
names of people, dates, cards out of a pack, lines from different poems, 
&c., in fact any things or series of ideas that those present could keep 
steadily before their minds ; and when the children were in good humour, 
and excited by the wonderful nature of their successful guessing, they very 
seldom made a mistake. I have seen seventeen cards, chosen by myself, 
named right in succession, without any mistake. We soon found that a 


great deal depended on the steadiness with which the ideas were kept 
before the minds of ' the thinkers,' and upon the energy with which they 
willed the ideas to pass. Our worst experiments before strangers have 
invariably been when the company was dull and undemonstrative ; and 
we are all convinced that when mistakes are made, the fault rests, for the 
most part, with the thinkers, rather than with the thought-readers." 

In the course of the 5-ears 1881 and 1882, a large number of experi- 
ments were made with the Creery family, first by Professor Barrett, 
then by Mr. and Mrs. Sidgwick, by Professor Balfour Stewart, f.r.s., 
and Professor Alfred Hopkinson, of Owens College, Manchester, and, 
after the formation of the Society for Psychical Research, by the Thought-" 
transference Committee of that body, of which Mr. Myers and myself were 
members. The children in turn acted as " percipients," the other persons 
present being " agents," i.e., concentrating their minds on the idea of 
some selected word or thing, with the intention that this idea should be 
transferred to the percipient's mind. The thing selected was either a 
card, taken at random from a full pack ; or a name chosen also at random ; 
or a number, usually of two figures ; or occasionally some domestic 
implement or other object in the house. The percipient was, of course, 
absent when the selection was made, and when recalled had no means 
of discovering through the exercise of the senses what it was, unless by 
signals, consciously or unconsciously given by one or other of the agents. 
Strict silence was maintained throughout each experiment, and when 
the group of agents included any members of the Creery family, the closest 
watch was kept in order to detect any passage of signals ; but in hundreds 
of trials nothing was observed which suggested any attempt of the sort. 
Still, such simple objects would not demand an elaborate code for their 
description ; nor were any effective means taken to block the percipient's 
channels of sense — it being thought expedient in these early trials not to 
disturb their minds by obtrusive precautions. We could not, therefore, 
regard the testimony of the investigators present as adding much weight 
to the experiments in which any members of the family were among the 
group of agents, unless the percipient was completely isolated from that 
group. Such a case was the following : — 

" Easter, 1881. Present : Mr. and Mrs. Creery and family, and W. F. 
Barrett, the narrator. One of the children was sent into an adjoining 
room, the door of which I saw was closed. On returning to the sitting- 
room and closing its door also, I thought of some object in the house, 
fixed upon at random ; writing the name down, I showed it to the family 
present, the strictest silence being preserved throughout. We then all 
silently thought of the name of the thing selected. In a few seconds 
the door of the adjoining room was heard to open, and after a very short 
interval the child would enter the sitting-room, generally with the object 
selected. No one was allowed to leave the sitting-room after the object 
had been fixed upon ; no communication with the child was conceivable, 
as her place was often changed. Further, the only instructions given to 
the child were to fetch some object in the house that I would fix upon, 
and, together with the family, silently keep in mind, to the exclusion, as 
far as possible, of all other ideas. In this way I wrote down, among 
other things, a hair-bntsh ; it was brought : an orange ; it was brought : 


a wine-glass ; it was brought : an apple ; it was brought : a ioastwg-fork ; 
failed on the first attempt, a pair of tongs being brought, but on a second 
trial it was brought. With another child (among other trials not here 
mentioned) a citp was written down by me ; it was brought : a saucer ; 
this was a failure, a plate being brought ; no second trial allowed. The 
child being told it was a saucer, replied, ' That came into my head, but I 
hesitated as I thought it unlikely you would name saucer after cup, as 
being too easy.' " 

But, of course, the most satisfactory condition was that only the 
members of the investigating Committee should act as agents, so that 
signals could not possibly be given unless by one of them. This condition 
clearly makes it idle to represent the means by which the transferences 
took place as simply a trick which the members of the investigating Com- 
mittee failed to detect. The trick, if trick there was, must have been one 
in which the}^ or one of them, actively shared ; the only alternative to 
collusion on their part being some piece of carelessness amounting almost 
to idiocy — such as uttering the required word aloud, or leaving the selected 
card exposed on the table. The following series of experiments was made 
on April 13th, 1882. The agents were Mr. Myers and the present writer, 
and two ladies of their acquaintance, the Misses Mason, of Morton Hall, 
Retford, who had become interested in the subject by the remarkable 
successes which one of them had obtained in experimenting among friends. ^ 
As neither of these ladies had ever seen any member of the Creery family 
till just before the experiments began, they had no opportunities for 
arranging a code of signals with the children ; so that any hypothesis 
of collusion must in this case be confined to Mr. Myers or the present 
writer. As regards the hypothesis of ivant of intelligence , the degree of 
intelligent behaviour required of each of the four agents was simply 
this : (i) To keep silence on a particular subject ; and (2) to avoid un- 
consciously displaying a particular card or piece of paper to a person 
situated at some yards' distance. The first condition was realised by 
keeping silence altogether ; the second by remaining quite still. The 
four observers were perfectly satisfied that the children had no means 
at any moment of seeing, either directly or by reflection, the selected 
card or the name of the selected object. The following is the list of trials : — 

Objects to be named. (These objects had been brought, and still remained, 
in the pocket of one of the visitors. The name of the object selected 
for trial was secretly written down, not spoken.) 

A White Penknife. — Correctly named, with the colour, the first trial. 

Box of Almonds. — Correctlj' named. 

Threepenny piece. — Failed. 

Box of Chocolate. — Button -box said ; no second trial given. 

(A penknife was then hidden ; but the place was not discovered.) 

Numbers to be named. 

Five. — Rightly given on the first trial. 
Fourteen . — Failed . 

^ See Miss Mason's interesting paper on the subject in Macmillnn's Magazine iov 
October, 1882. 


Thirty-three. — 54 (No). 34 (No). 33 (Right). 
Sixty-eight.— 58 (No). 57 (No). 78 (No). 

Fictitious names to be guessed. 

Martha Billings. — " Biggis " was said. 
Catherine Smith. — " Catherine Shaw " was said. 
Henry Cow per. — Failed. 

Cards to be named. 

Two of clubs. — Right first time. 

Queen of diamonds. — Right first time. 

Four of spades. — Failed. 

Four of hearts. — Right first time. 

King of hearts. — Right first time. 

Two of diamonds. — Right first time. 

Ace of hearts. — Right first time. 

Nine of spades. — Right first time. 

Five of diamonds. — Four of diamonds (No). Four of hearts (No). 

Five of diamonds (Right) . 
Two of spades. — Right first time. 

Eight of diamonds. — Ace of diamonds said ; no second trial given. 
Three of hearts. — Right first time. 
Five of clubs. — Failed. 
Ace of spades. — Failed. 

The chances against accidental success in the case of any one card are, 
of course, 51 to i ; yet out olfotirteen successive trials nine were successful 
at the first guess, and only three trials can be said to have been complete 
failures. The odds against the occurrence of the five successes running, 
in the card series, are considerably over 1,000,000 to i. On none of 
these occasions was it even remotely possible for the child to obtain by 
any ordinary means a knowledge of the object selected. Our own facial 
expression was the only index open to her ; and even if we had not pur- 
posely looked as neutral as possible, it is difficult to imagine how we could 
have unconsciously carried, say, the two of diamonds written on our 

During the ensuing year, the Committee, consisting of Professor 
Barrett, Mr. Myers, and the present writer, made a number of experi- 
ments under similar conditions, which excluded contact and movement, 
and which confined the knowledge of the selected object — and, therefore, 
the chance of collusion with the percipient — to their own group. In some 
of these trials, conducted at Cambridge, Mrs. F. W. H. Myers and Miss 
Mason also took part. In a long series conducted at Dublin, Professor 
Barrett was alone with the percipient. Altogether these scrupulously 
guarded trials amounted to 497 ; and of this number 95 were completely 
successful at the first guess, and 45 at the second. The results may be 
clearer if arranged in a tabular form. 



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Mr. F. Y. Edgeworth, to whom these results were submitted, and 
who calculated the final column of the Table, has kindly appended the 
following remarks : — 

" These observations constitute a chain or rather coil of evidence, 
which at first sight and upon a general view is seen to be very strong, 
but of which the full strength cannot be appreciated until the concatena- 
tion of the parts is considered. 

" Viewed as a whole the Table presents the following data. There 
are in all 497 trials. Out of these there are 95 successes at the first 
guess. The number of successes most probable on the hypothesis of mere 
chance is 27. The problem is one of the class which I have discussed in 
the Proceedings of the S.P.R., Vol. III., p. 190, &c. The approxi- 
mative formula there given is not well suited to the present case,^ in 
which the number of successes is very great, the probability of their being 
due to mere chance very small, in relation to the total number of trials. 
It is better to proceed directly according to the method employed in 
the paper referred to (p. 198) for the appreciation of M. Richet's result 
EPJYEIOD [see below, p. 60]. By this method, ^ with the aid of 
appropriate tables,'' I find for the probability that the observed total 
of successes have resulted from some other agency than pure chance 

■999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 98 
" Stupendous as is this probability it falls short of that which the 
complete solution of our problem yields. For, measuring and joining all 
the links of evidence according to the methods described in the paper 
refen'ed to, I obtain a row of thirty-four nines following a decimal point. 
A fortiori, if we take account of the second guesses. 

" These figures more impressively than any words proclaim the 
certainty that the recorded observations must have resulted either from 
collusion on the part of those concerned (the hypothesis of illusion being 
excluded by the simplicity of the experiments), or from thought-transference 
of the sort which the investigators vindicate." 

A large number of trials were also made in which the group of agents 
included one or more of the Creery family ; and as bearing on the hypo- 
thesis of an ingenious family trick, it is worth noting that — except where 
Mr. Creery himself was thus included — the percentage of successes was, 
as a rule, not appreciably higher under these conditions than when the 
Committee alone were in the secret. When Mr. Creery was among the 
agents, the average of success was far higher ; but his position in the affair 
was precisely the same as our own ; and the most remarkable results were 
obtained while he was himself still in a state of doubt as to the genuine- 
ness of the phenomena which he was investigating. 

One further evidential point should be noted. Supposing such a thing 
as a genuine faculty of thought-transference to exist, and to be capable, 
for example, of evoking in one mind the idea of a card on which other 
minds are concentrated, we might naturally expect that the card-pictures 
conveyed to the percipient would present various degrees of distinctness, 

^ The formula is adequate to prove that an inferior limit of the sought probability 
is -9999. 

" Owing to the rapid convergency of the series which we have to sum, it will be 
found sufficient to evaluate two or three terms. 

* Tables of Logarithms, and of the values of log V {x-^ 1). 


and that there would be a considerable number of approximate guesses, 
as they might be given by a person who was allowed one fleeting glimpse 
at a card in an imperfect light. Such a person might often fail to name 
the card correctly, but his failures would be apt to be far more nearly 
right than those of another person who was simply guessing without 
any sort of guidance. This expectation was abundantly confirmed in 
our experiments. Thus, in a series of 32 trials, where only 5 first guesses 
were completely right, the suit was 14 times running named correctly 
on the first trial, and reiterated on the second. Knave was very frequently 
guessed as King, and vice versa, the suit being given correctly. The 
number of pips named was in many cases only one off the right number, 
this sort of failure being specially frequent when the number was over 
six. Again, the correct answer was often given, as it were, piecemeal — in 
two partially incorrect guesses — the pips or picture being rightly given at 
the first attempt, and the suit at the second ; and in the same way with 
numbers of two figures, one of them would appear in the first guess and 
the other in the second. 

Before we leave these early experiments, one interesting question 
presents itself, which has an important bearing on the wider subject of 
this book. In what form was the impression flashed on the percipient's 
mind ? What were the respective parts in the phenoinena played by the 
mental eye and the mental ear ? The points just noticed in connection 
with the partial guessing of cards seem distinctly in favour of the mental 
eye. A king looks like a knave, but the names have no similarity. So 
with numbers. 35 is guessed piecemeal, the answers being 45 and 43 ; 
so 57 is attempted as 47 and 45. Now the similarity in sound between 
three and thirty in 43 and 35, or between five and fifty in 45 and 57, is 
not extremely strong ; while the pichire of the 3 or the 5 is identical 
in either pair. On the other hand, names of approximate sound were 
often given instead of the true ones ; as " Chester "for Leicester, " Biggis " 
for Billings, " Freemore " for Frogmore. Snelgrove was reproduced as 
" Singrore " ; the last part of the name was soon given as " Grover," 
and the attempt was then abandoned — the child remarking afterwards 
that she thought of " Snail " as the first syllable, but it had seemed to 
her too ridiculous. Professor Barrett, moreover, sx:ccessfully obtained 
a German word of which the percipient could have formed no visual 
image. 1 The children's own account was usually to the effect that they 
" seemed to see " the thing ; but this, perhaps, does not come to much ; 
as a known object, however suggested, is likel}^ to be instantly visualised. 
On the whole, then, the conclusion seems to be that, with these " subjects," 
both modes of transference were possible ; and that they prevailed in 
turn, according as this or that was better adapted to the particular case. 

§6.1 have dwelt at some length on our series of trials with the members 
of the Creery family, as it is to those trials that we owe our own conviction 
of the possibility of genuine thought-transference between persons in a 
normal state. I have sufficiently explained that we do not expect the 

' In an account of some experiments with words, which we have received from a 
correspondent, it is stated that success was decidedly more marked in cases where there 
was a broad vowel sound. 


results to be as crucial for persons who were not present, and to whom 
we are ourselves unknown, as they were for us ; and that it cannot be 
" in the mouth of two or three witnesses " only that such a stupendous 
fact as the transmission of ideas otherwise than through the recognised 
sensory channels will be established. The testimony must be multiplied ; 
the responsibility must be spread ; and I shall immediately proceed to 
describe further results obtained with other agents and other percipients. 
But first it may perhaps be asked of us why we did not exploiter this 
remarkable family further. It was certainly our intention to do what 
we could in this direction, and by degrees to procure for our friends an 
opportunity^ of judging for themselves. This point, however, was one 
which could only be cautiously pressed. Mr. Creery v/as certainly justified 
in regarding his daughters as something more than mere subjects of ex- 
periments, and in hesitating to make a show of them to persons who 
might, or rather who reasonably must, begin by entertaining grave 
doubts as to their good faith. It must be remembered that we were dealing, 
not with chemical substances, but with youthful minds, liable to be reduced 
to confusion by anything in the demeanour of visitors which inspired 
distaste or alarm ; and even with the best intentions, " a childly way 
with children " is not easy to adopt where the children concerned are 
objects of suspicious curiosity. More especially might these considera- 
tions have weight, when failure was anticipated for the first attempts 
made under new conditions. And this suggests another difficulty, which 
has more than once recurred in the experimental branches of our work. 
The would-be spectators themselves may be unable or unwilling to fulfil 
the necessary conditions. Before introducing them, it is indispensable 
to obtain some guarantee that they on their part will exercise patience, 
make repeated trials, and give the " subjects " a fair opportunity of getting 
used to their presence. Questions of mood, of goodwill, of familiarity, 
may hold the same place in psychical investigation as questions of tem- 
perature in a physical laboratory ; and till this is fully realised, it will 
not be easy to multiply testimony to the extent that we should desire. 

In the case of the Creery family, however, we met with a difficulty 
of another kind. Had the faculty of whose existence we assured our- 
selves continued in full force, it would doubtless have been possible in 
time to bring the phenomena under the notice of a sufficient number of 
painstaking and impartial observers. But the faculty did not continue 
in full force ; on the contrary, the average of successes gradually declined, 
and the children regretfully acknowledged that their capacity and con- 
fidence were deserting them. The decline was equally observed even in 
the trials which they held amongst themselves ; and it had nothing Vv-hat- 
ever to do with any increased stringency in the precautions adopted. No 
precautions, indeed, could be stricter than that confinement to our own 
investigating group of the knowledge of the idea to be transferred, which 
was, from the very first, a condition of the experiments on which we 
absolutely relied. The fact has just to be accepted, as an illustration of 
the fleeting character which seems to attach to this and other forms of 
abnormal sensitiveness. It seem,s probable that the telepathic faculty, 
if I may so name it, is not an inborn, or lifelong possession ; or, at any 
rate, that ver^^ slight disturbances may suffice to paralyse it. The Creerj^s 


had their most startHng successes at first, when the affair was a surprise 
and an amusement, or later, at short and seemingly casual trials ; the 
decline set in with their sense that the experiments had become matters 
of weighty importance to us, and of somewhat prolonged strain and 
tediousness to them.^ So, on a minor scale, in trials among our own friends, 
we have seen a fortunate evening, when the spectators were interested 
and the percipient excited and confident, succeeded by a series of failures 
when the results were more anxiously awaited. It is almost inevitable 
that a percipient who has aroused interest by a marked success on several 
occasions, should feel in a way responsible for further results ; and yet 
any real preoccupation with such an idea seems likely to be fatal. The 
conditions are clearly unstable. But of course the first question for science 
is not whether the phenomena can be produced to order, but whether in 
a sufficient number of series the proportion of success to failure is markedly' 
above the result of chance. 

§ 7. Before leaving this class of experiments, I may mention an 
interesting development which it has lately received. In the Revue 
Philosophique for December, 1884, M. Ch. Richet, the well-known savant 
and editor of the Revue Scientifique, published a paper, entitled " La 
Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilit^s," in the first part of which 
an account is given of some experiments v/ith cards precisely similar in 
plan to those above described. A card being drawn at random out of a 
pack, the " agent " fixed his attention on it, and the " percipient " en- 
deavoured to name it. But M. Richet's method contained this important 
novelty — that though the success, as judged by the results of any particular 
series of trials, seemed slight (showing that he was not experimenting 
with what we should consider " good subjects "), he made the trials on a 
sufficiently extended scale to bring out the fact that the right guesses 
were on the whole, though not strikingly, above the number that pure 
accident would account for, and that their total was considerably above 
that number. 

This observation involves a new and striking application of the calculus 
of probabilities. Advantage is taken of the fact that the larger the 
number of trials made under conditions where success is purely accidental, 
the more nearly will the total number of successes attained conform to 
the figure which the formula of probabilities gives. For instance, if 
some one draws a card at random out of a full pack, and before it has been 
looked at by anyone present I make a guess at its suit, my chance of being 
right is, of course, i in 4. Similarly, if the process is repeated 52 times, the 
most probable number of successes, according to the strict calculus of prob- 

^ [Subsequently to the publication of Phantasms of the Living, in a series of experi- 
ments with cards, two of the sisters acting as " agent " and " percipient " were 
detected in the use of a code of signals, and a third confessed to a certain amount 
of signalling in earlier series. An account of this discovery will be found in Proceedings 
of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. v., pp. 269-270. It of course makes it 
impossible to rely on experiments with this family in which signalling can have been 
made use of, but it is dithcult to see how it can have operated when, as in the cases 
quoted above, " agency " was confined to the investigatmg committee. Still, these 
experiments woukl not, I thurk, have been given a place in the book had the dis- 
coveiy been made before publication. See beloAv p. 61. — Ed.] 


abilities, is 13 ; in 520 trials the most probable number of successes is^i3o. 
Now, if we consider only a short series of 52 guesses, I may be accidentally 
right many more times than 13 or many less times. But if the series be 
prolonged — if 520 guesses be allowed instead of 52 — the actual number 
of successes will vary from the probable number within much smaller 
limits ; and if we suppose an indefinite prolongation, the proportional 
divergence between the actual and the probable number will become 
infinitely small. This being so, it is clear that if, in a very short series of 
trials, we find a considerable difference between the actual number of 
successes and the probable number, there is no reason for regarding this 
difference as anything but purely accidental ; but if we find a similar 
difierence in a very long series, we are justified in surmising that some 
condition beyond mere accident has been at work. If cards be drawn in 
succession from a pack, and I guess the suit rightly in 3 out of 4 trials, 
I shall be foolish to be surprised ; but if I guess the suit rightly in 3,000 
out of 4,000 trials, I shall be equally foolish not to be surprised. 

Now M. Richet continued his trials until he had obtained a consider- 
able total ; and the results were such as at any rate to suggest that accident 
had not ruled undisturbed — that a guiding condition had been introduced, 
which affected in the right direction a certain small percentage of the 
guesses made. That condition, if it existed, could be nothing else than 
the fact that, prior to the guess being made, a person in the neighbourhood 
of the guesser had concentrated his attention on the card drawn. Hence 
the results, so far as they go, make for the reality of the faculty of " mental 
suggestion." The faculty, if present^ was clearly only slightly developed ; 
whence the necessity of experimenting on a very large scale before its 
genuine influence on the numbers could be even surmised. 

Out of 2,927 trials at guessing the suit of a card, drawn at random, 
and steadily looked at by another person, the actual number of suc- 
cesses was 789 ; the most probable number, had pure accident ruled, 
was 732. The total was made up of thirty-nine series of difierent lengths, 
in which eleven persons took part, M. Richet himself being in some cases 
the guesser, and in others the person who looked at the card. He observed 
that when a large number of trials were made at one sitting, the aptitude 
of both persons concerned seemed to be affected ; it became harder for 
the " agent " to visualise, and the proportion of successes on the guesser 's 
part decreased. If we agree to reject from the above total all the series 
in which over 100 trials were consecutively made, the numbers become 
more striking. ^ Out of 1,833 trials, he then got 510 successes, the most 
probable number being only 458 ; that is to say, the actual number 
exceeds the most probable number by about -J^-. 

Clearly no definite conclusion could be based on such figures as the 
above. They at most contained a hint for more extended trials, but a 
hint, fortunately, which can be easily followed up. We are often asked 
by acquaintances what they can do to aid the progress of psychical re- 
search. These experiments suggest a most convenient answer ; for they 

^ It should be remarked, however, that the introduction of any principle of 
selection, after one experiment, is always objectionable. For some more or less 
plausible reason could probably always be found for setting aside the less favourable 


can be repeated, and a valuable contribution made to the great aggre- 
gate, by any two persons who have a pack of cards and a little perse- 

Up to the time that I write, we have received, in all, the results of 
17 batches of trials in the guessing of suits. In 11 of the batches one 
person acted as agent and another as percipient throughout : the other 
6 batches are the collective results of trials made by as many groups 
of friends. The total number of trials was 17,653, and the total number 
of successes was 4,760 ; which exceeds by 347 the number which was 
the most probable if chance alone acted. The probability afforded by 
this result for the action of a cause other than chance is •999,999,999,1 
— or practical certainty.- I need hardly say that there has been here 
no selection of results ; all who undertook the trials were specially re- 
quested to send in their report, whatever the degree of success or un- 
success ; and we have no reason to suppose that this direction has been 
ignored. It is thus an additional point of interest that in only one of 
the batches did the result fall heloiv the number which was the most 
probable one for mere chance to give. And if we take only those batches, 
10 in number, in which a couple of experimenters made as many as 1,000 
trials and over, the probability of a cause other than chance which the 
group of results yields is estimated by one method to be '999,999,999,96, 
and by another to be •999,999,999,999,2. 

To this record must be added another, not less striking, of experi- 
ments which (though part of the same effort to obtain large collective 
results) differed in form from the above, and could not, therefore, figure 
in the aggregate. Thus, in a set of 976 trials, carried out by Miss B. 
Lindsay (late of Girton College), and a group of friends, where the choice 
was between 6 tmcoloured forms — 9 specimens of each being combined 
in a pack from which the agent drew at random — the total of right guesses 
was 198, the odds against obtaining that degree of success by chance 
being about 500 to i. In another case, the choice lay between 4 things, 
but these were not suits, but simple colours — red, blue, green, and yellow. 
The percipient throughout was Mr. A. J. Shilton, of 40, Paradise Street, 
Birmingham ; the agent (except in one small group, when Professor 
Poynting, of Mason College, acted) was Mr. G. T. Cashmore, of Albert 
Road, Handsworth. Out of 505 trials, 261 were successes. The proba- 
bility here afforded of a cause other than chance is considerably more 
than a trillion trillions to i. And still more remarkable is the result 
obtained by the Misses Wingfield, of The Redings, Totteridge, in some 
trials where the object to be guessed was a number of two digits — i.e., one 

' The rules to observe are these : (1) The number of trials contemplated (1,000, 
2,000, or whatever it may be) should be specified beforehand. (2) Not more than 
50 trials should be made on any one occasion. (3) The agent should draw the card 
at random, and cut the pack between each draw. (4) The success or failure of each 
guess should be silently recorded, and the percipient should be kept m ignorance of 
the results until the whole series is completed. [The results should be sent to the 
Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research, 20 Hanover Square, W.] 

'^ For these calculations we have again to thank Mr. F. Y. Edge worth. For an 
explanation of the methods employed, see his article m vol. iii. of the Proceedings 
of the S.P.R., already referred to, and also his paper on " Methods of Statistics" 
{sub fin.) in the Journal of the Statistical Society for 1885. 


of the go numbers included in the series from 10 to 99 — chosen at random 
by the agent. Out of 2,624 trials, where the most probable number of 
successes was 29, the actual number obtained was no less than 275 — to 
say nothing of 78 other cases in which the right digits were guessed in 
the reverse order. In the last 506 trials the agent (who sat some 6 feet 
behind the percipient) drew the numbers at random out of a bowl ; the 
odds against the accidental occurrence of the degree of success — 21 right 
guesses — obtained in this batch are over 2,000,000 to i. The argument 
for thought-transference afforded by the total of 275 cannot be expressed 
here in figures, as it requires 167 nines — that is, the probability is far 
more than the ninth power of a trillion to i. 

Card-experiments of the above type offer special conveniences for 
the very extended trials which we wish to see carried out : they are 
easily made and rapidly recorded. At the same time it must not be 
a.ssumed that the limitation of the field of choice to a very small number 
of known objects is a favourable condition ; it is probably the reverse. 
For from the descriptions which intelligent percipients have given it 
would seem that the best condition is a sort of inward blankness, on 
which the image of the object, sometimes suddenly but often only gradu- 
ally, takes shape. And this inward blankness is hard to ensure when 
the objects for choice are both few and known. For their images are 
then apt to importune the mind, and to lead to guessing ; the little pro- 
cession of them marches so readily across the mental stage that it is 
difficult to drive it off, and wait for a single image to present itself inde- 
pendently. Moreover idiosyncrasies on the guessers' part have the op- 
portunity of obtruding themselves — as an inclination, or a disinclination, 
to repeat the same guess several times in succession. These objections 
of course reach their maximum if the field of choice be narrowed down 
to two things — as where not the suit but the colour of the cards is to be 
guessed. And in fact some French trials of this type, and an aggregate 
of 5,500 carried out by the American Society for Psychical Research, ^ 
give a result only very slightly in excess of the most probable number. 

§ 8. I may now pass to another class of experiments, in which the 
impression transferred was almost certainly of the visual sort, inasmuch 
as any verbal description of the object would require a group of words 
too numerous to present any clear and compact auditory character. 
An object of this kind is supplied by any irregular figure or arrangement 
of lines which suggests nothing in particular. We have had two remark- 
ably successful series of experiments, extending over many days, in which 

^ Report by Professors J. M. Peirce and E. C. Pickering, in the Proceedings of the 
American Society for Psychical Research, vol. i., p. 19. This Society has also carried out 
12,130 trials with the 10 digits — which similarly gave a result only slightly in excess 
of theoretic probability. But here the digits to be thought of by the agent were not 
taken throughout in a purely accidental order, but in regularly recurring decads, 
in each of which each digit occurred once ; and consequently the later guesses (both 
within the same decad and in successive decads) might easily be biassed by the earlier 
ones. This system may lead to interesting statistics in other ways ; but to give 
thought-transference fair play in experiments with a limited number of objects, 
it seems essential that the order of selection shall be entirely haphazard, and that 
the guesser's mind shall be quite unembarrassed by the notion of a scheme. 


the idea of such a figure has been telepathically transferred from one 
mind to another. A rough diagram being first drawn by one of the in- 
vestigating Committee, the agent proceeded to concentrate his attention 
on it, or on the memory which he retained of it ; and in a period varying 
from a few seconds to a few minutes the percipient was able to reproduce 
the diagram, or a close approximation to it, on paper. No contact was 
permitted, except on a few occasions, which, on that very account, we 
should not present as crucial ; and m order to preclude the agent from 
giving unconscious hints — e.g., by drawing with his finger on the table 
or maldng movements suggestive of the figure in the air — he was kept 
out of the percipient's sight. 

Of the two series mentioned, the second is evidentially to be preferred. 
For in the first series the agent, as well as the percipient, was always 
the same person ; and we recognise this as pro tanto an objection. Not 
indeed that the simple hypothesis of collusion would at all meet the 
difficulties of the case. Faith in the power of a secret code must be carried 
to the verge of superstition, before it will be easy to believe that auditory 
signals, the material for which (as I pointed out above) is limited to the 
faintest variations in the signaller s method of breathing, can fully and 
faithfully describe a complicated diagram ; especially when the varia- 
tions, imperceptible to the closest observation of the bystanders, would 
have to penetrate to the intelligence of a percipient whose head was 
enveloped in bandage, bolster-case, and blanket. But in spite of all, 
suspicion will, reasonably or unreasonably, attach to results which are, 
so to speak, a monopoly of two particular performers. In our second 
series of experiments this objection was obviated. There were two per- 
cipients, and a considerable group of agents, each of whom, when alone 
with one or other of the percipients, was successful in transferring his 
impression. It is this series, therefore, that I select for fuller description. 

We owe these remarkable experiments to the sagacity and energy 
of Mr. Malcolm Guthrie, J. P., of Liverpool. At the beginning of 1883, 
Mr. Guthrie happened to read an article on thought-transference in a 
magazine, and though completely sceptical, he determined to make 
some trials on his own account. He was then at the head of an estab- 
lishment which gives employment to many hundreds of persons ; and 
he was informed by a relative who occupied a position of responsibility 
in this establishment that she had witnessed remarkable results in some 
casual trials made by a group of his employees after business hours. He 
at once took the matter into his own hands, and went steadily, but cau- 
tiously, to work. He restricted the practice of the novel accomplishment 
to weekly meetings ; and he arranged with his friend, Mr. James Birchall, 
the hon. secretary of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society, 
that the latter should make a full and complete record of every experi- 
ment made. Mr. Guthrie thus describes the proceedings : — 

" I have had the advantage of studying a series of experiments ab ova. 
I have witnessed the genuine surprise which the operators and the 
' subjects ' have alike exhibited at their increasing successes, and at the 
results of our excursions into novel lines of experiment. The affair has 
not been the discovery of the possession of special powers, first made and 


then worked up by the parties themselves for gain or glory. The experi- 
menters in this case were disposed to pass the matter over altogether as 
one of no moment, and only put themselves at my disposal in regard to 
experiments in order to oblige me. The experiments have all been devised 
and conducted by myself and Mr. Birchall, without any previous intimation 
of their nature, and could not possibly have been foreseen. In fact they 
have been to the young ladies a succession of surprises. No set of experi- 
ments of a similar nature has ever been more completely known from its 
origin, or more completely under the control of the scientific observer." 

I must pass over the record of the earlier experiments, where the 
ideas transferred were of colours, geometrical figures, cards, and visible 
objects of all sorts, which the percipient was to name — these being similar 
in kind, though on the whole superior in the proportion of successes, to 
those already described.^ The reproduction of diagrams was introduced 
in October, 1883, and in that and the following month about 150 trials 
were made. The whole series has been carefully mounted and pre- 
served by Mr. Guthrie. • No one could look through them without per- 
ceiving that the hypothesis of chance or guess-work is out of the question ; 
that in most instances some idea, and in many a complete idea, of the 
original must, by whatever means, have been present in the mind of 
the person who made the reproduction. In Mr. Guthrie's words : — 

" It is difficult to classify them. A great number of them are decided 
successes ; another large number give part of the drawing ; others exhibit 
the general idea, and others again manifest a kind of composition of 
form. Others, such as the drawings of flowers, have been described and 
named, but have been too difficult to draw. A good many are perfect 
failures. The drawings generally run in lots. A number of successful 
copies will be produced very quickly, and again a number of failures — 
indicating, I think, faultiness on the part of the agent, or growing fatigue 
on the part of the ' subject.' Every experiment, whether successful or 
a failure, is given in the order of trial, with the conditions, name of 
' subject ' and agent, and any remarks made by the ' subject ' specified 
at the bottom. Some of the reproductions exhibit the curious pheno- 
menon of inversion. These drawings must speak for themselves. The 
principal facts to be borne in mind regarding them are that they have 
been executed through the instrumentality, as agents, of persons of 
unquestioned probity, and that the responsibility for them is spread over 
a considerable group of such persons ; while the conditions to be observed 
were so simple — for they amounted really to nothing more than taking 

^ The fuU record of the experiments wiU be found in the Proceedings of the S.P.R., 
vol. i., p. 264, &c., and vol. ii., p. 24, &c. There is one point of novelty which is thus 
described by Mr. Guthrie : " We tried also the perception of motion, and found that 
the movements of objects exhibited could be discerned. The idea was suggested by an 
experiment tried with a card, which in order that all present should see, I moved about, 
and was informed by the percipient that it was a card, but she could not tell which 
one because it seemed to be moving about. On a subsequent occasion, in order to 
test this perception of motion, I bought a toy monkey, which worked up and down 
on a stick by means of a string drawing the arms and legs together. The answei- 
was : ' I see red and yellow, and it is darker at one end than the other. It is like 
a flag moving about — it is moving. . . , Now it is opening and shutting like a pair 
of soissors.' " 


care that the original should not be seen by the ' subject ' — that it is 
extremely difficult to suppose them to have been eluded." 

I give a few specimens — not unduly favourable ones, but illustrating 
the " spreading of responsibility " to which Mr. Guthrie refers. The 
agents concerned were Mr. Guthrie ; Mr. Steel, the President of the 
Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society ; Mr. Birchall, mentioned 
above ; Mr. Hughes, B.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge ; and myself. 
The names of the percipients were Miss Relph and Miss Edwards. The 
conditions which I shall describe were those of the experiments in which 
I myself took part ; and I have Mr. Guthrie's authority for stating that 
they were uniformly observed in the other cases. The originals were for 
the most part drawn in another room from that in which the percipient 
was placed. The few executed in the same room were drav\'n while the 
percipient was blindfolded, at a distance from her, and in such a way 
that the process would have been wholly invisible to her or anyone else, 
even had an attempt been made to observe it. During the process of 
transference, the agent looked steadily and in perfect silence at the 
original drawing, which was placed upon an intervening wooden stand ; 
the percipient sitting opposite to him, and behind the stand, blindfolded 
and quite still. The agent ceased looking at the drawing, and the blind- 
folding was removed, only when the percipient professed herself ready 
to make the reproduction, which happened usually in times varying 
from half-a-minute to two or three minutes. Her position rendered it 
absolutely impossible that she should obtain a glimpse of the original. 
Apart from the blindfolding, she could not have done so without rising 
from her seat and advancing her head several feet ; and as she was very 
nearly in the same line of sight as the drawing, and so very nearly in the 
centre of the agent's field of vision, the slightest approach to such a 
movement must have been instantly detected. The reproductions were 
made in perfect silence, the agent forbearing to follow the actual process 
of the drawing with his eyes, though he was, of course, able to keep the 
percipient under the closest observation. 

In the case of all the diagrams, except those numbered 7 and 8, the 
agent and the percipient were the only two persons in the room during 
the experiment. In the case of numbers 7 and 8, the agent and Miss 
Relph were sitting quite apart in a corner of the room, while Mr. Guthrie 
and Miss Edwards were talking in another part of it. Numbers 1-6 are 
specially interesting as being the complete and consecutive series of a 
single sitting. 


No. 1. O-RiGiNAL Drawing. No. 1. Rhproduction. 

Mr. Guthrie asd Miss Ed'w'ards No coBtect. 

No. 2. Original Drawing. 

No. 2. RsPKGUUOriON. 

Mr, Guthrie and J.Ii&s Edwards. No contact 


No. 3. OniaiNAi, Deawiwg. No. 3, Repp.odcction. 

Mr. Guthrie and Miss Edwards 
No contact. 

No. -1. Origihal Drawing. 


Mr. Guthvie and Miss Edwiird.i. 
No coutac.t. 


No, 5. OsicrNAL Drawing. No 5 ReprodoctioU. 

Mr. Qutlirie and Miss Edwards. 
No contact. 

No. C. Original Drawing. 

Mr GtithrLe and Misd Edwurda. No contact 

No. 6. Repeoduction 

Mtss Edvarcb almost directly said, " Are you thinking of the bottom of the sea, vatb shells and 
fishes ? " and then, " Is it a snail or a flsh ?" — then drew as above 



No. 7 Obiginai, Dbawdjg. 

Mr. GniTjey and Relph. Contact for half-a-minute before the reproduction was drawn. 

No. 7. Repeoduotion. 


No. 8. Original Drawing. No. 8. Reproduction. 

Mr Gumey and Mi^ Relph. No contact. 

No. 9. Original Drawing. 

Mr. Birchall and Miss Bclph. No contact. 

No. 9. Repbodcotion. 

Miss Kelph said she seemed to see <t lot of ring.s, as if they ware moving, and she could not get 
them steadily before her eyes. 


No. 10. Original Drawing. No. 10. Reprodcctiok. 

Mr. Birchall and Miss Belph. No contact. 

N't). 11. Original Drawing. 

•'Mr. Birchall and Miss Edwards. Ko contact. 



No. 12. Oeiginai, De^wtns. 

Vtr Steel and Miss Reiph. No contact. 

No. 12. RErsoDrcTiOs. 


Ko. 13. Obioinai Drawing. No. 13. Reprodtjotion. 

Mr. Steel and Misa Edwards. Contact before the 
reproduction was made 

No. 14 OiiiGiNA], Dbavving. 

No. 14 Reproduction. 

Mr. Hughes and Miss Edwards. Contact 
before the reproduction was made. 

Mis.s Edwards said, "A box or chair 
badly shaped "—then drew as above. 



No, 15. Obighjai/ Dbawing, 

Mr. Hughes and Miss Edwards. No contact 

No, 15. Rkfeoductiok. 

M!33 Edwards saldj "It is like a mask at apantomiase," aad Jmrnediatel^ drew as abo^a 



Nn. 16. Original Dkawino. 

Mr. Hughes and Miss Edwards No contact. 



§ 9. Soon after the publication of these results, Mr. Guthrie was 
fortunate enough to obtain the active co-operation of Dr. Oliver J. Lodge 
[now Sir Oliver Lodge], Professor of Physics in University College, 
Liverpool, who carried out a long and independent series of experiments 
with the same two percipients, and completely convinced himself of the 
genuineness of the phenomena. In his report {Proc. S.P.R., vol. ii. 
p. 189) he says : — 

" As regards collusion and trickery, no one who has witnessed the 
absolutely genuine and artless manner in which the impressions are 
described, but has been perfectly convinced of the transparent honesty 
of purpose of all concerned. This, hov/ever, is not evidence to persons 
who have not been present, and to them I can only say that to the 
best of my scientific belief no collusion or trickery was possible under 
the varied circumstances of the experiments. . . . When one has the 
control of the circumstances, can change them at will and arrange one's 
own experiments, one gradually acquires a belief in the phenomena 
observed quite comparable to that induced by the repetition of ordinary 
physical experiments. . . . We have many times succeeded with agents 
quite disconnected from the percipient in ordinary'- life, and sometimes 
complete strangers to them. Mr. Birchall, the headmaster of the Birkdale 
Industrial School, frequently acted ; and the house physician at the Eye 
and Ear Hospital, Dr. Shears, had a successful experiment, acting alone, 
on his first and only visit. All suspicion of a prearranged code is thus 
rendered impossible even to outsiders who are unable to witness the 
obvious fairness of all the experiments." 

The objects of which the idea was transferred were sometimes things 
with names (cards, key, teapot, flag, locket, picture of donkey, and so 
on), sometimes irregular drawings with no name. Professor Lodge satis- 
fied himself that auditory as well as visual impressions played a part — 
that in some cases the idea transferred was that of the object itself, and 
in others, that of its name ; thus confirming the conclusion which we 
had come to in the experiments with the Creery family. Of the two 
percipients one seemed more susceptible to the visual, and the other 
to the auditory impressions. A case where the auditory element seems 
clearly to have come in is the following. The object 
was a tetrahedron rudely drawn in projection, thus — 

The percipient said : '.' Is it another triangle ? " No answer was given, 
but Professor Lodge silently passed round to the agents a scribbled 
message, " Think of a pyramid." The percipient then said, " I only 
see a triangle " — then hastily, " Pyramids of Egypt. No, I shan't do 
this." Asked to draw, she only drew a triangle. 

I will only give one other case from this series, which is important 
as showing that the percipient may be simultaneously influenced by 
two minds, which are concentrated on two difierent things. The two 
agents being seated opposite to one another. Professor Lodge placed 
between them a piece of paper, on one side of which was drawn a square, 
and on the other a cross. They thus had different objects to contemplate. 

Originals. [_^j _^<^ Repboduction. f\7 


and neither knew what the other was looking at ; nor did the percipient 
know that anything unusual was being tried. There was no contact. 
Very soon the percipient said, " I see things moving about ... I seem 
to see two things ... I see first one up there and then one down there 
... I don't know which to draw ... I can't see either distinctly." 
Professor Lodge said : " Well, anyhow, draw what you have seen." She 
took off the bandage and drew first a square, and then said, " Then there 
was the other thing as well . . . afterwards they seemed to go into 
one," — and she drew a cross inside the square from corner to corner, 
adding afterwards, " I don't know what made me put it inside." The 
significance of this experimental proof of joint agency will be more fully 
realised in connection with some of the spontaneous cases. 

The following passage from the close of Professor Lodge's report has 
a special interest for us, confirming, as it does, the accounts which we 
had received from our own former " subjects," and the views above 
expressed as to the conditions of success and failure : — 

" With regard to the feelings of the percipients when receiving an 
impression, they seem to have some sort of consciousness of the action of 
other minds on them ; and once or twice, when not so conscious, have 
complained that there seemed to be ' no power ' or anything acting, and 
that they not only received no impression, but did not feel as if they were 
going to. 

" I asked one of them what she felt when impressions were coming 
freely, and she said she felt a sort of influence or thrill. They both say 
that several objects appear to them sometimes, but that one among them 
persistently recurs and they have a feeling when they fix upon one that 
it is the right one. 

" One serious failure rather depresses them, and after a success others 
often follow. It is because of these rather delicate psychological con- 
ditions that one cannot press the variations of an experiment as far as one 
would do if dealing with inert and more dependable matter. Usually the 
presence of a stranger spoils the phenomena, though in some cases a 
stranger has proved a good agent straight off. 

" The percipients complain of no fatigue as induced by the experi- 
ments, and I have no reason to suppose that any harm is done them." 

It is the " delicate psychological conditions " of which Professor 
Lodge here speaks that are in danger of being ignored, just because they 
cannot be measured and handled. The man who first hears of thought- 
transference very naturally imagines that, if it is a reality, it ought to 
be demonstrated to him at a moment's notice. He forgets that the ex- 
periment being essentially a mental one, his own presence — so far as he 
has a mind — may be a factor in it ; that he is demanding that a delicate 
weighing operation shall be carried out, while he himself, a person of 
unknown weight, sits judicially in one of the scales. After a time he will 
learn to allow for the conditions of his instruments, and will not expect 
in the operations of an obscure vital influence the rigorous certainty of 
a chemical reaction. 

I cannot conclude this division of the subject without a reference to 
a remarkable set of diagrams which appeared in Science for July.. 1885 — 


the first-fruits of the investigation of thought-transference set on foot 
by the American Society for Psychical Research. Most of the trials 
were carried out by Mr. W. H. Pickering (brother of the eminent as- 
tronomer at Harvard) and his sister-in-law. Though the success is far 
less striking to the eye than in the several English series, the evidence 
for some agency beyond chance seems on examination irresistible. 

§ 10. So far the present sketch has included transference of impres- 
sions of the visual and auditory sorts only — impressions, moreover, 
which for the most part represented formed objects or definite groups 
of sensations, not sensations pure and simple. These are not only by 
far the most important forms of the phenomenon, in relation to the wider 
spontaneous operations of telepathy which we shall consider in the sequel ; 
but are also the most convenient forms for experiment. Moreover, I 
have been tracing the development of the subject historically ; and it 
was in connection with ideas belonging to the higher forms of sense that 
the transferences to percipients who were in a normal state were first 
obtained. But the existence of such cases would prepare us for trans- 
ferences of a more elementary type — transferences of a simple formless 
sensation and nothing more, which should impress the percipient not 
as an idea, but in its direct sensational character ; and if the phenomena 
be arranged in a logical scale from the less to the more complex, such 
cases would have the priority. For their exhibition, it is naturally to 
the lower senses that we should look — taste, smell, and touch — which 
last (since a certain intensity of experience seems necessary) we should 
hardly expect to prove effective till it reached the degree of pain. These 
lower forms are, in fact, those which preponderate in the earlier observa- 
tions of mesmeric rapport in this country ; and our own experiments in 
mesmerism have included several instances of this sort.^ Thus the dis- 
covery that a similar " community of sensation " might exist between 
persons in a normal state, and without any resort to mesmeric or hypnotic 
processes, not only filled up an obvious lacuna, but gave a fresh proof 
of the fundamental unity of our many-sided subject. 

In the case of taste, we owe the discovery to Mr. Guthrie — the phe- 
nomenon having been, we believe, first observed by him on August 30th, 
1883, and first fully examined in the course of a visit which Mr. Myers 
and the present writer paid to him in the following week. Failing to 
obtain very marked success in other lines of experiment, it occurred to us to 
introduce this novel form ; but the superiority of the results was probably 
due simply to the fact that they were obtained on the later days of our 
visit, when the " subjects " had become accustomed to our presence. 

I will quote the report made at the time : — 

" The taste to be discerned was known only to one or more of the three 
actual experimenters ; and the sensations experienced were verbally 
described by the ' subjects ' (not written down), so that all danger of 
involuntary muscular guidance was eliminated. 

" A selection of about twenty strongly-tasting substances was made. 

^ It is impossible here to give more than a selection of cases. I must refer the 
reader to chap. 1. of the Supplement [original edition], and to the Proceedings of the 
Society for Psychical Research, vol. i., p. 225, etc., vol. ii., p. 17, etc., and p. 205, 
etc. ; and Mr. Guthrie's " Further Report " in vol. iii. 


These substances were enclosed in small bottles and small parcels, pre- 
cisely similar to one another, and kept carefully out of the range of vision 
of the ' subjects,' who were, moreover, blindfolded, so that no grimaces made 
by the tasters could be seen. The ' subjects,' in fact, had no means what- 
ever of knowing, through the sense of sight, what was the substance tasted. 

" Smell had to be guarded against with still greater care. When the 
substance was odoriferous the packet or bottle was opened outside the 
room, or at such a distance, and so cautiously as to prevent any sensible 
smell from escaping. The experiments, moreover, were conducted in the 
close vicinity of a very large kitchen, from whence a strong odour of 
beefsteak and onions proceeded during almost all the time occupied. The 
tasters took pains to keep their heads high above the ' subjects,' and to 
avoid breathing with open mouth. One substance (coffee) tried was found 
to give off a slight smell, in spite of all precautions, and an experiment 
made with this has been omitted. 

" The tasters were Mr. Guthrie (M. G.), Mr. Gurney (E. G.), and Mr. 
Myers (M.). The percipients may be called R. and E. The tasters lightly 
placed a hand on one of the shoulders or hands of the percipients — there 
not being the same objection to contact in trials of this type as where 
lines and figures are concerned, and the ' subjects ' themselves seeming to 
have some faith in it. During the first experiments (September 3rd 
and 4th) there were one or two other persons in the room, who, however, 
were kept entirely ignorant of the substance tasted. During the experi- 
ments silence was preserved. The last fifteen of them (September 5th) 
were made when only M. G., E. G., and M., with the two percipients, were 
present. On this evening E. was, unfortunately, suffering from sore 
throat, which seemed to blunt her susceptibility. On this occasion none of 
the substances were allowed even to enter the room where the percipients 
were. They were kept in a dark lobby outside, and taken by the investi- 
gators at random, so that often one investigator did not even know what 
the other took. Still less could any spy have discerned what was chosen, 
had such spy been there, which he certainly was not. 

" A very small portion of each substance used was found to be enough. 
The difficulty lies in keeping the mean between the massive impression of 
a large quantity of a salt, spice, bitter, or acid, which confounds the specific 
differences under each general head, and the fading impression which is 
apt to give merely a residual pungenc3^ from which the characteristic 
flavour has escaped. It is necessary to allow some minutes to elapse 
between each experiment, as the imaginary taste seems to be fully as 
persistent as the real one. 

September yyd, 1883. 


I, — M E Vinegar "A sharp and nasty taste." 

2.— M E Mustard " Mustard." 

3. — M R Do "Ammonia." 

4. — M E Sugar "I still taste the hot taste of 

the mustard." 
September ^th. 

5. — E. G. & M. . E Worcestershire sauce " Worcestershire sauce." 

6. — M. G E Do. " Vinegar." 

7, — E. G. & M. . E Port wine " Between eau de Cologne and 


8. — M. G R Do " Raspberry vinegar." 

9. — E. G. & M. . E Bitter aloes " Homble and bitter." 

IG. — M. G R. ... Alum "Atasteofink — ofiron — of vine- 
gar . I feel it on my lips — it is 
as if I had been eating alum.' 

Chap. II] 



12.— E. G. & M. . E. 

13.— M. G R. 

14.— E. G, &M. . E. 
15.— M. G R. 


II. — M. G E Alum (E. perceived that M. G. was 

not tasting bitter aloes, as 
E. G. and M. supposed, but 
something different. No 
distinct perception on ac- 
count of the persistence of 
the bitter taste.) 

Nutmeg " Peppermint — no — what you 

put in puddings — nutmeg." 

Do " Nutmeg." ^ 

Sugar Nothing perceived. 

Do Nothing perceived. 

(Sugar should be tried at an 
earlier stage in the series, as 
after the aloes, we could 
scarcely taste it oixrselves.) 

16. — E. G. & M. . E Cayenne pepper ... "Mustard." 

17. — M. G R. ... Do. ... " Caj^enne pepper." 

(After the cayenne we were 
unable to taste anything 
further that evening.) 

September 5th. 

18. — E. G. & M. . E Carbonate of soda . Nothing perceived. 

19. — M. G R. ... Caraway seeds .... "It feels like meal — like a seed 

loaf — caraway seeds." 
(The substance of the ' seeds 
seemed to be perceived 
before their taste.) 

Cloves " Cloves." 

Citric acid Nothing perceived. 

Do " Salt." 

Liquorice " Cloves." 

Cloves " Cinnamon." 

Acid jujube " Pear drop." 

Do. " Something hard, which is 

giving way — acid jujube." 
Candied ginger. ... " Something sweet and hot." 

Do. " Almond toffy." 

(M. G. took his ginger in the 
dark, and was some time 
before he realised that it was 
Home-made Noyau . " Salt." 

Do. . " Port wine." 

(This was by far the most 
strongly smelling of the sub- 
stances tried, the scent of 
kernels being hard to con- 
ceal. Yet it was named by 
E. as salt.) 

31.— E. G. & M. . E Bitter aloes " Bitter." 

32. — M. G R Do Nothingperceived. 

^ In some cases two experiments were carried on simultaneously -with the same 
substance ; and when this was done, the first percipient was of course not told 
whether her answer was right or wrong. But it will perhaps be suggested that, when 
her answer was right, the agent who was touching her unconsciously gave her an 
intimation of the fact by the pressure of his hand ; and that she then coughed or 
made some audible signal to her companion, who followed suit. Whatever the theory 
may be worth, it will, we think, be seen that the success of the second percipient with 
the nutmeg was the only occasion, throughout the series, to which it can be applied. 

20.— E. G. &M. 

. E 

21.— E. G. &M. 

. E 

22.— M. G 

B.. ... 

23.— E. G. &M. 

. E 

24.— M. G 

R. .. . 

25.— E. G. & M. 

. E 

26.— M. G 

R. .. . 

27.— E. G. &M. 

. E 

28.— M.G 

. R. .. . 

29.— E. G. & M. . E. 
30.— M. G R. 


" We should have preferred in these experiments to use only substances 
which were wholly inodorous. But in order to get any description of 
tastes from the percipients, it was necessary that the tastes should be 
either very decided or very familiar. It would be desirable, before entering 
on a series of experiments of this kind, to educate the palates of the 
percipients by accustoming them to a variety of chemical substances, and 
also by training them to distinguish, with shut eyes, between the more 
ordinary flavours. It is well known how much taste is helped by sight and 
determined by expectation ; and when it is considered that the percipients 
in these cases were judging blindfold of the mere shadow of a savour, it 
will perhaps be thought that even some of their mistakes are not much 
wider of the mark than they might have been had a trace of the substance 
been actually placed upon their tongues." 

In later experiments, Mr. Guthrie endeavoured to m.eet the difficulty 
caused by odorous substances, and even succeeded in obtaining what 
appeared to be transferences of smell-impressions. The " subjects " 
and the agents were placed in different rooms. An opening, io| inches 
square, had been made in the wooden partition between the two rooms ; 
and this had been filled in with a frame, covered with india-rubber and 
fitting tightly. Through a slit in this frame the agent (Mr. Guthrie or 
his relative. Miss Redmond) passed a hand, which both the " subjects " 
could then touch. Under these conditions, as far as could be judged, 
it was impossible for any scent to pass ; and, certainly, if any did pass, 
it would have needed extreme hyperassthesia to detect it. The following 
results were obtained on December 5th, 1883 : — 

I. — Miss Redmond tasted powdered nutmeg. 

E. said " Ginger." 

R. said " Nutmeg." 
2. — Mr. G. tasted powder of dry celery. 

E. : "A bitter herb." 

R. : " Something like camomile." 
3. — Miss Redmond tasted coffee. 

At the same time, without any previous intimation, Mr. G., with two 
pins, pricked the front of the right wrist of Miss Redmond. 

E. said : " Is it a taste at all ? " Mr. G. : " Why do you ask ? " 
" Because I feel a sort of pricking in the left wrist." She was told 
it was the right wrist, but said she felt it in the left. 

R. : " Is it cocoa or chocolate ? " Answer given in the negative. 

E. : " Is it coffee ? " 
4. — Mr. G. tasted Worcestershire sauce. 

R. : " Something sweet . . . also acid ... a curious taste." 

E. : " Is it vinegar ? " 
5. — Miss Redmond smelt eau de Cologne. 

R. : " Is it eau de Cologne ? " 
6. — Miss Redmond smelt camphor. 

E. : " Don't taste anything." 

R. : Nothing perceived. 
7. — Mr. G. smelt carbolic acid. 

R. : " What you use for toothache . . . creosote." 

E. afterwards said she thought of pitch. 


8. — Mr. G. Right instep pricked with pins. 

E. guessed first the face, then the left shoulder ; then R. localised the 

pain on the right foot. 
The pain was then silently transferred to the left foot. E. localised it 
on the left foot. Both maintained their opinions. 

I will quote one more taste-series, for the sake of illustrating a special 
point — namely, the deferment of the percipient's consciousness of the 
sensation until a time when the agent had himself ceased to feel it. This 
fact is of great interest, on account of the marked analogy to it which 
we shall encounter in many of the spontaneous telepathic cases. The 
instances below are too few to be conclusive ; but we used to notice the 
same thing in our experiments with the Creery family — the object on 
which the attention of the agents had been concentrated being some- 
times correctly named after the experiment had been completely aban- 
doned as a failure. 

June nth, 1885. 

Dr. Hyla Greves was in contact with Miss Relph, having tasted 

salad oil. 
Miss Relph said : " I feel a cool sensation in my mouth, something 

like that produced by sal prunelle." 
Mr. R. C. Johnson in contact, having tasted Worcestershire sauce in 

another room. 
" I taste something oily ; it is very like salad oil." Then, a few 

minutes after contact with Mr. Johnson had ceased, " My mouth 

seems getting hot after the oil." (N.B. — Nothing at all had been 

said about the substances tasted either by Dr. Greves or Mr. 

Dr. Greves in contact, having tasted bitter aloes. 
" I taste something frightfully hot . . . something like vinegar and 

pepper. ... Is it Worcestershire sauce ? " 
Mr. Guthrie in contact, also having tasted bitter aloes. 
" I taste something extremely bitter, but don't know what it is, and 

do not remember tasting it before. . . . It is a very horrid taste." 

The possibility of the transference of pain, to a percipient in the 
normal state, is also a recent discovery. In December, 1882, we obtained 
some results which — with our well-tried knowledge of the percipient's 
character — we regard as completely satisfactory ; but our more striking 
successes in this line happen to have been with hypnotic subjects. ^ The 
form of experiment has difficulties of its own. For, in mercy to the agent, 
the pain which it is hoped to transfer cannot be very severely inflicted ; 
and, moreover, in such circumstances of investigation as Mr. Guthrie's, 
it is only a very limited amount of the area of the body that can practi- 
cally be used — a fact which of course increases the percipient's chances 
of accidental success. Still, the amount of success obtained with Mr. 
Guthrie's " subjects," in a normal state, is such as certainly excludes 
the hypothesis of accident. In some of the most remarkable series, 
contact has been permitted, it being difficult to suppose that uncon- 
scious pressure of the hand could convey information as to the exact 

^ See Proceedings of the S.P.R., vol. i., pp. 225-6 ; vol. ii., p. 250. 


locality of a pain.i But complete isolation of the percipient is, no doubt, 
a more satisfactory condition ; and at seven of the Liverpool meetings, 
which took place at intervals from November, 1884, to July, 1885, the 
experiment was arranged in the following way. The percipient being 
seated blindfolded, and with her back to the rest of the party, all the 
other persons present inflicted on themselves the same pain on the same 
part of the body. Those who took part in this collective agency were 
three or more of the following : Mr. Guthrie, Professor Herdman, Dr, 
Hicks, Dr. Hyla Greves, Mr. R. C. Johnson, F.R.A.S., Mr. Birchall, 
Miss Redmond, and on one occasion another lady. The percipient 
throughout was Miss Relph. 

In all, 20 trials were made. The parts pained were : — 

I. — Back of left hand pricked. Rightly localised. 

2. — Lobe of left ear pricked. Rightly localised. 

3. — Left wrist pricked. " Is it in the left hand ? " — pointing to the 

back near the little finger. 
4. — Third finger of left hand tightly bound round with wire. A lower 

joint of that finger was guessed. 
5. — Left wrist scratched with pins. " It is in the left wrist, like being 

6. — Left ankle pricked. Rightly localised. 
7. — Spot behind left ear pricked. No result. 
8. — Right knee pricked. Rightly localised. 
9. — Right shoulder pricked. Rightly localised. 
10. — Hands burned over gas. " Like a pulling pain . . . then tingling, 

like cold and hot alternately " — localised by gesture only. 
II. — End of tongue bitten. " It is in the lip or the tongue." 
12. — Palm of left hand pricked. " Is it a tingling pain in the hand, 

here ? " — placing her finger on the palm of the left hand. 
13. — Back of neck pricked. " Is it a pricking of the neck ? " 
14. — Front of left arm above elbow pricked. Rightly localised. 
15. — Spot just above left ankle pricked. Rightly localised. 
16. — Spot just above right wrist pricked. " I am not quite sure, but I 
feel a pain in the right arm, from the thumb upwards, to above 
the wrist." 
17. — Inside of left ankle pricked. Outside of left ankle guessed. 
18. — Spot beneath right collarbone pricked. The exactly corresponding 

spot on the left side was guessed. 
19. — Back hair pulled. No result. 
20. — Inside of right wrist pricked. Right foot guessed. 

Thus in 10 out of the 20 cases, the percipient localised the pain with 
great precision ; in 6 the localisation was nearly exact, and with these 
we may include No. 10, where the pain was probably not confined to a 
single well-defined area in the hands of all the agents ; in 2 no local im- 
pression was produced ; and in i, the last, the answer was wholly wrong. 

§ II. We may pass now to a totally new division of experimental 
cases. So far the effect of thought-transference on the receiving mind 
has been an effect in consciousness — :the actual emergence of an image 

^ See, for instance, the record of Mr. Hughes's series in Mr. Guthrie's " Further 
Report," above referred to. 


or sensation which the percipient has recognised and described. But 
it is not necessary that the effect should be thus recognised by the per- 
cipient ; his witness to it may be unconscious, instead of conscious, and 
yet may be quite unmistakable. The simplest example of this is v/hen 
some effect is produced on his motor system — when the impression re- 
ceived causes him to perform some action which proves to have distinct 
reference to the thought in the agent's mind. 

The cases fall into two classes. In one class the actions are purely 
automatic : in the other some conscious idea of what was to be done has 
preceded and accompanied the muscular effect ; so that that effect would 
be at most semi-automatic. To begin with this semi-automatic class ; 
it might be thought that examples would be found in those rarer cases 
of the " willing-game " where contact, and movement on the agent's 
part, are avoided. But we have received no records of such cases where 
it is certain that the precautions neccessary to exclude the barest possi- 
bility of slight unconscious physical signs w^ere rigidly enforced ; and 
it will be preferable to describe some experiments made by members 
of our own group, where this point was kept steadily in view. We have 
had several interesting series in which the " subject's " power of utter- 
ance has been inhibited by the silent determination of the operator. Our 
first experiments of this sort were made in January, 1883. The " sub- 
ject " was our friend, Mr. Sidney Beard, who had been thrown into a 
light hypnotic trance by Mr. G. A. Smith. A list of twelve Yeses and 
Noes in arbitrary order was written by one of ourselves and put into 
Mr. Smith's hand, with directions that he should successively " will " 
the " subject " to respond or not to respond, in accordance with the 
order of the list. Mr. Beard was lying back with closed eyes ; and a 
tuning-fork was struck and held at his ear, with the question, " Do you 
hear ? " asked by one of ourselves. This was done twelve times with 
a completely successful result, the answer or the failure to answer corre- 
sponding in each case with the "yes" or "no" of the written list — 
that is to say, with the silently concentrated will of the agent. ^ 

A much more prolonged series of trials was made in November, 1883, 
by Professor Barrett, at his house in Dublin. The hypnotist was again 
Mr. G. A. Smith. The " subject " was an entire stranger to Mr. Smith, 
a youth named Fearnley, to whom nothing whatever was said as to the 
nature of the experiment about to be tried, until he was thrown into 
the hypnotic state. [The results, obtained at different distances, were 

^ Similar trials on other occasions were equally successful ; as also were trials 
where the tuning-fork was dispensed with, and the only sound was the question, 
" Do you hear ? " asked by one of the observers. On these latter occasions, however, 
Mr. Smith was holding Mr. Beard's hand ; and it might be maintained that " yes " 
and " no " indications were given by unconscious variations of pressure. How 
completely unconscious the supposed " reader " was of any sensible guidance will 
be evident from Mr. Beard's own account. " During the experiments of January 1st, 
when Mr. Smith mesmerised me, I did not entirely lose consciousness at any time, 
but only experienced a sensation of total numbness in my limbs. When the trial 
as to whether I could hear sounds was made, I heard the sounds distinctly each time, 
but in a large number of instances I felt totally unable to acknowledge that I heard 
them. I seemed to know each time whether Mr. Smith wished me to say that I 
heard them ; and as I had surrendered my will to his at the commencement of the 
experiment, I was unable to reassert my power of volition whilst under his influence." 


almost completely successful. For the sake of brevity they are omitted here ; 
as are also two other short but successful series with different " sub- 
jects," and in one a different hypnotist, in which Mr. Gumey was the 
experimenter .-^Ed.] 

§ 12. But in experiments of this class it is clearly difficult to be sure 
that the conscious idea of the evoked or the inhibited action does not 
precede or accompany the muscular effects. Indeed, as we have seen, 
the percipient's own account has sometimes shown that it did so. I 
proceed, then, to our second class of cases. There is, fortunatel}^ one 
sort of act where the verdict of the performer that it was automatically 
performed may be taken as conclusive ; the act of writing. If words 
are written down which the writer is obliged to read over, and even to 
puzzle over, just as anyone else might do, in order to learn what they 
are, his unconsciousness of them in the act of writing may be taken as 
established. Now written words are of course as good as spoken ones, 
as evidence that a particular idea has been in some way communicated. 
If, then, one person's automatic writing corresponds unmistakably to 
the idea on which another person's mind was concentrated at the time, 
and if the possibility of sensory indications has been excluded, we have 
a clear example of some novel influence acting, not only without the 
participation of the recognised organs of sense, but without the partici- 
pation of the percipient's conscious intelligence. Here again we find 
the advantage of the generic word " telepathy " — for it would clearly 
be inaccurate to call a phenomenon "thought-transference" where what 
is transferred does not make its appearance, on the percipient's side, as 
thought or any other form of conscious perception. 

We have in our collection several examples of this motor form of 
experimental telepathy ; where a mental question on the part of some 
one present has been answered in writing, with a planchette^ or a simple 
pencil, without any consciousness of either the question or the answer 
on the part of the person whose hand was automatically acting. But 
the following group of cases is decidedly the most remarkable that has 
come under our notice. 

The Rev. P. H. Newnham, Vicar of Maker, Devonport, has had many 
indications of spontaneous transference of thought from himself to his 
wife ;* and at one period of his life, in 1871, he carried out a long and 
systematic series of experiments, which were of the motor t^'pe that 
we«»are now considering — he writing down a question, and the planchette 
under his wife's hands replying to it. He recorded the results, day by 
day, in a private diary, which he has kindly placed at our disposal. From 
this diary I quote the following extracts : — 

My wife always sat at a small low table, in a low chair, leaning back- 
wards. I sat about eight feet distant, at a rather high table, and with 
my back towards her while writing down the questions. It was absolutely 

^ A planchette has two advantages oyer a simple pencil. It is very much more 
easily moved to write ; and it is very much easier to make with it the movements 
necessary for the formation of letters without realising what the letters are. 

• See e.g., the cases quoted in chap, v., §§ 2 and 8. 


impossible that any gesture or play of features, on my part, could have 
been visible or intelligible to her. As a rule she kept her eyes shut ; but 
never became in the slightest degree hypnotic, or even naturally drowsy. 

Under these conditions we carried on experiments for about eight 
months, and I have 309 questions and answers recorded in my note-book, 
spread over this time. But the experiments were found very exhaustive 
of nerve power, and as my wife's health was delicate, and the fact of 
thought-transmission had been abundantly proved, we thought it best to 
abandon the pursuit. 

I may mention that the planchette began to move instantly, with my 
wife. The answer was often half written before I had completed the 

On first finding that it would write easily, I asked three simple questions 
which were known to the operator ; ^ then three others, unknown to her, 
relating to my own private concerns. All six having been instantly 
answered in a manner to show complete intelligence, I proceeded 
to ask : — 

7.2 Write down the lowest temperature here this winter. 
A. 8. 

Now, this reply at once arrested my interest. The actual lowest 
temperature had been 7 "6°, so that 8 was the nearest whole degree ; but my 
wife said at once that, if she had been asked the question, she would have 
written 7 and not 8 ; as she had forgotten the decimal, but remembered 
my having said that the temperature had been down to 7 something. 

I simply quote this, as a good instance, at the very outset, of perfect 
transmission of thought, coupled with a perfectly independent reply ; the 
answer being correct in itself, but different from the impression on the 
conscious intelligence of both parties.® 

Naturally our first desire was to see if we could obtain any information 
concerning the natiire of the intelligence which was operating through the 
planchette, and of the method by which it produced the written results. 
We repeated questions on this subject again and again, and I will copy 
down the principal questions and answers in the connection, 

January 2gth. 

13. Is it the operator's brain, or some external force, that moves the 

planchette ? Answer " brain " or " force." 
A. Will. 

14. Is it the will of a living person, or of an immaterial spirit, distinct 

from that person ? Answer " person " or " spirit." 
A. Wife. 

15. Give first the wife's Christian name ; then, my favourite name for her. 
(This was accurately done.) 

27. What is your own name ? 
A. Only you. 

28. We are not quite sure of the meaning of the answer. Explain. 
A. Wife. 

1 Mr. Newnham uses this word where we should use " subject " or " percipient." 

* The numbers prefixed to the questions are those in the note-book. 

^ It will be borne in mind throughout that Mrs. Newnham had, at the time when 

the answer was produced, no conscious knowledge of the question which her husband 

had written down. 


Failing to get more than this, at the outset, we turned to the same 
thought after question 114 ; when, having been closely pressed on another 
subject, we received the curt reply — " Told all I know." 

Febniavy i8fh. 

117. Who are you that writes, and has told all you know ? 
A. Wife. 

118. But does no one tell wife what to write ? If so, who ? 
A. Spirit. 

11 9. Whose spirit ? 
A. Wife's brain. 

120. But how does wife's brain know (certain) secrets ? 
A. Wife's spirit unconsciously guides. 

121. Biit how does wife's spirit know things it has never been told ? 
A. No external influence. 

122. But by what internal influence does it know (these) secrets ? 
A. You cannot know. 

March 15th. 

132. Who, then, makes the impressions upon her ? 
A. Many strange things. 

133. What sort of strange things ? 

A. Things beyond your knowledge. 

134. Do, then, things beyond our knowledge make impressions upon wife ? 
A. Influences which no man understands or knows. 

136. Are these influences which we cannot understand external to wife ? 
A. External — invisible. 

137. Does a spirit, or do spirits, exercise those influences ? 
A. No, never (written very large and emphatically). 

138. Then from whom, or from whence, do the external influences come ? 
A. Yes ; you will never know. 

139. What do you mean by writing " yes " in the last answer ? 
A. That I really meant never. 

April 10th. 

192. But by what means are my thoughts conveyed to her brain ? 
A. Electro-biology. 

193. What is electro-biology ? 
A. No one knows. 

194. But do not you know ? 

A. No. Wife does not know. 

My object in quoting this large number of questions and replies [N.B. 
those here given are mere samples] has not been merely to show the 
instantaneous and unfailing transmission of thought from questioner to 
operator ; but, more especially, to call attention to a remarkable char- 
acteristic of the answers given. These answers, consistent and invariable 
in their tenor from first to last, did not correspond with the opinions or 
expectations of either myself or my wife. Neither myself nor my wife had 
ever taken part in any form of (so-called) " spiritual " manifestations 
before this time ; nor had we any decided opinion as to the agency by 
which phenomena of this kind were brought about. But for such answers 


as those numbered 14, 27, 137, 192, and 194, we were both of us totally 
unprepared ; and I may add that, so far as we were prepossessed by any 
opinions whatever, these replies were distinctly opposed to such opinions. 
In a word, it is simply impossible that these replies should have been 
either suggested or composed by the conscious intelligence of either of us. 
I had a young man reading with me as a private pupil at this time. 
On February 12th he returned from his vacation ; and, on being told of 
our experiments, expressed his incredulity very strongly. I offered any 
proof that he liked to insist upon, only stipulating that I should see the 
question asked. Accordingly, Mrs. Newnham took her accustomed chair 
in my study, while we went out into the hall, and shut the door behind us. 
He then wrote down on a piece of paper : — 

87, What is the Christian name of my eldest sister ? 

We at once returned to the study, and found the answer already 
waiting for us : — 
A. Mina. 

(This name was the family abbreviation of Wilhelmina ; and I should 
add that it was unknown to myself.) 

I must now go on to speak of a series of other experiments, of a very 
remarkable kind. 

We soon found that my wife was perfectly unable to follow the motions 
of the planchette. Often she only touched it with a single finger ; but 
even with all her fingers resting on the board, she never had the slightest 
idea of what words were being traced out. It struck me that it would be 
a good thing to take advantage of this peculiarity on her part, to ask 
questions upon subjects that it was impossible for her to know anything 
about. I had taken a deep interest in Masonic archaeology, and I now 
questioned planchette on some subjects connected therewith. 

February i^th. 

92. What is the English of the great word of the R.A. ? 

After an interruption, of which I shall speak hereafter, one great 
word of the degree, but not the one I meant, was written, very 
slowly and clearly. 

February 18th. 

112. What is the translation of the Great Triple Word ? 

A. (The first syllable of the word in question was written correctly, 
and then it proceeded.) The end unknown. Three languages. 
Greece. Egypt. Syriac. 

115. Who are you that know ? 
(Answer scrawled and illegible.) 

116. Please repeat same ansAver legibly. 
A. Manifestation triune person. 

March 26th. 

166. Of what language is the first syllable of the Great Triple R.A. Word ? 
A. Don't know. 

167. Yes, you do. V^Tiat are the three languages of which the word is 

composed ? 
A. Greek, Egypt, Syriac first syllable [correctly given), rest unknown. 

168. Write the syllable which is Syriac. 
A. (First syllable correctly written.) 


169. VViite the syllable which is Egyptian. 
A. Second. 

170. Can you not write the syllable itself ? 
A. Third Greek. 

174. Write down the word itself. 

A. First three and last two letters were written correctly, but four 
incorrect letters, partly borrowed from another word of the same 
degree, came in the middle. 

176. Why do you write a word of which I know nothing ? 

A. Wife tried hard to tell the word, but could not quite catch it. 

177. Catch it from whom ? 
A. Not quite sure. 

178. Not quite sure of what ? 

A. I know nothing. Wife doesn't quite know. 
In the above series of answers we have, it seems to me, a very re- 
markable combination of knowledge and ignorance. There is a perfect 
appreciation of my thoughts, in the queries ; but a strange, persistent, 
almost dogged, incapability of seeing my thoughts, in the replies. Especi- 
ally in the answer to 116, and in some other answers [not here quoted], 
there is a reference to an opinion which was published by Dr. Oliver, 
whose works I had been carefully reading about four months before, but 
with whose theory, in this case, I most strongly disagreed. So that here 
was an opinion intimated which it was impossible that the operator could 
have been aware of, and which the questioner had absolutely rejected as 
untenable ! 

182. Write out the prayer used at the advancement of a Mark Master 


A, Almighty Ruler of the Universe and Architect of all worlds, we 
beseech Thee to accept this, our brother, whom we have this day 
received into our most honourable Company of Mark Master 
Masons. Grant him to be a worthy member of our brotherhood ; 
and may he be in his own person a perfect mirror of all Masonic 
virtues. Grant that all our doings may be to Thy honour and 
glory, and to the welfare of all mankind. 

This prayer was written ofi instantaneously and very rapidly. It is a 
very remarkable production indeed. For the benefit of those who are not 
members of the craft, I may say that no prayer in the slightest degree 
resembling it is made use of in the Ritual of any Masonic degree ; and 
yet it contains more than one strictly accurate technicality connected with 
the degree of Mark Mason. My wife has never seen any Masonic prayers, 
whether in " Carlile," or any other real or spurious Ritual of the Masonic 

Here, then, assuredly was a formula composed by some intelligence 
totally distinct from the conscious intelligence of either of the persons 
engaged in the experiment. 

I proceeded to inquire as follows : — 

183. I do not know this prayer. Where is it to be found ? 
A. Old American Ritual. 

184. Where can I get one ? 

A. Most likely none in England. 

185. Can you not write the prayer that I made use of in my own Lodge ? 
A. No, I don't know it. 


In these last answers we see a new moral element introduced. There 
is evasion, or subterfuge, of a more or less ingenious kind ; and totally 
foreign to the whole character and natural disposition of the operator. A 
similar attempt at deliberate invention, rather than plead guilty to total 
ignorance, is contained in the following answers : — 

May 'jth. 

255. In what Masonic degree was the Triple Word first used ? 
A. Wife does not know. 

256. Cannot you tell her ? 

A. How can wife know what no one else does ? 

257. Does no one, then, know the answer to this ? 
A. No one knows now. 

258. What do you mean by " now " ? Did anyone once know ? 
A. The last one who knew died at least twenty years ago. 

259. What was his name ? 

A. In America ; don't know name. 
[Many more instances of these evasive replies occur.] 

May loth. 

Planchette again gave us an example of its sense of the humorous. 

I had been obliged to engage a clergyman who was not a favourable 
specimen of his profession, as I could procure no one else in time to get 
the Sunday's work done. He was much amused with planchette, and 
desired to ask : — 

277. How should a bachelor live in this neighbourhood ? 
(The answer was illegible.) 

278. Please repeat answer. 
A. Three months. 

(Planchette evidently did not catch the exact query.) 

279. I did not ask how long but how P 

A. Eating and drinking and sleeping and smoking. 

That clergyman never consulted planchette again. 

I will conclude with a very pretty instance of a mistake instantly 
corrected. It was on the same evening, May loth ; I had to preach on 
the following Whit-Monday, on the occasion of laying a foundation-stone 
with Masonic ceremonial, so I asked : — 

275. Give me a text for Whit -Monday's sermon. 

A. If I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you. 
The selection of a subject suitable for Whitsuntide is plainly the first 
idea caught by the intelligence ; so I proceeded : — 

276. That will not do for my subject. I want a text for theMonday's sermon. 
A. Let brotherly love continue. 

I will add one example where, contrary to the usual rule, the idea 
of the answer, though not that of the question, reached the level of con- 
sciousness in Mrs. Newnham's mind. 

59. What name shall we give to our new dog ? 
A. Nipen. 
The name of Nipen, from Feats on the Fiord, shot into the operator's 
brain just as the question was asked. 


The above quotations form a fair sample of Mr. Newnham's 309 
experiments of the same type, and no one who admits the bona fides of 
the record, and beUeves that Mrs. Newnham, sitting with closed eyes 
eight feet behind her husband, did not obtain through her senses an 
unconscious knowledge of what he wrote, will deny that some sort of 
telepathic influence was at work, acting below the level of the percipient's 
consciousness. The experiments are further interesting as suggesting, 
in the character of many of the replies, an unconscious intelligence — a 
second self quite other than Mrs. Newnham's conscious self. " Uncon- 
scious intelligence " is no doubt a somewhat equivocal phrase, and it 
is necessary to know in every case exactly what is meant by it. It may 
be used in a purely physical sense — to describe the unconscious cerebral 
processes whereby actions are produced which as a rule are held to imply 
conscious intelligence ; as, for instance, when complicated movements, 
once performed with thought and effort, gradually become mechanical. 
But it may be used also to describe psychical processes which are severed 
from the main conscious current of an individual's life. Unconsciousness 
in any further sense it would be rash to assert ; for intelligent psychic 
process without consciousness of some sort, if not a contradiction in 
terms, is at any rate something as impossible to imagine as a fourth 
dimension in space. The events in question are outside the individual's 
consciousness, as the events in another person's consciousness are ; but 
they differ from these last in not revealing themselves as part of any 
continuous stream of conscious life ; and no one, therefore, can give an 
account of them as belonging to a self. What their range and conditions 
of emergence may be we cannot tell ; since, in general, their very exist- 
ence can only be inferred from certain sensible effects to which they 
lead.^ I may recall the undoubted phenomena of what has been termed 
" double consciousness," where a double psychical life is found connected 
with a single organism. In those cases the two selves, one of which knows 
nothing of the other, appear as successive ; but if we can regard such 
segregated existences as united or unified by bonds of reference and 
association which, for the partial view of one of them at least, remain 

^ It may be asked what right I have to make any such inference ; since d la 
rigueur, the effects, being sensible and physical, do not require us to suppose that 
they had any other than physical antecedents. It is true that it is impossible to 
demonstrate that the physical antecedents, which undoubtedly exist, have any psychical 
correlative. But the results in question have often no analogy to the automatic 
actions which we are accustomed to attribute to " unconscious cerebration." They 
are not the effects of habit and practice ; they are new results, of a sort which has 
in all our experience been preceded by intention and reflection, and referable to a 
self. But perhaps the simplest illustration of what is here meant by " unconscious 
intelligence " is to be found in occasional facts of dreaming. Thus, it has occurred 
to me at least once, in a dream, to be asked a riddle, to give it up, and then to be told 
the answer — which, on waking, I found quite sufficiently pertinent to show that 
the question could not have been framed without distinct reference to it. Yet for 
the consciousness which I call mine, that reference had remained wholly concealed : 
so little had I known myself as the composer of the riddle that the answer came to 
me as a complete surprise. The philosophical problem of partial selves cannot be 
here enlarged on. For a discussion of the subject from the point of view of cerebral 
localisation, as well as for further quotations from Mr. Newnham's record, I may 
refer the reader to Mr. Myer's paper on "Automatic Writing," in vol. iii. of the 
Proceedings of the S.P.R. 


permanently out of sight, then I do not see what new or fundamental 
difficulty is introduced by conceiving them as simultaneous ; and simul- 
taneity of the sort is what seems to be shown, in a fragmentary way, 
by cases like the present. I shall have to recur to this conception in con- 
nection with some of the facts of spontaneous telepathy (see pp. 17 1-2). 

A further noteworthy point is that so often the questions and not 
the answers in the agent's mind should have been telepathically dis- 
cerned ; but we may perhaps conceive that the impulse first conveyed 
set the percipient's independent activity to work, and so put an end 
for the moment to the receptive condition. The power to reproduce 
the actual word thought of is sufficiently shown in the cases where names 
were given (15 and 87), and in some of the Masonic answers ; and the 
following examples belong to the same class. 

48. What name shall we give to our new dog ? 
A. Yesterday was not a fair trial. 

49, Why was not yesterday a fair trial ? 
A. Dog. 

And again : — 

108. What do I mean by chaffing C. about a lilac tree ? 
A. Temper and imagination. 

109. You are thinking of somebody else. Please reply to my question. 
A. Lilacs. 

Here a single image or word seems to have made its mark on the 
percipient's mind, without calling any originative activity into play ; 
and we thus get the naked reproduction. In these last examples we 
again notice the feature of deferred impression. The influence only grad- 
ually became effective, the immediate answer being irrelevant to the 
question. We may suppose, therefore, that the first effect took place 
below the threshold of consciousness. 

§ 13. I may now proceed to some further results which were obtained 
with percipients of less abnormal sensibility, and which demand, there- 
fore, a careful application of the theory of probabilities. For the de- 
velopment of the motor form of experiment in this direction, we have 
again to thank M. Richet ; who here, as in the case of the card-guessing, 
has brought the calculus to bear effectively on various sets of results 
many of which, if looked at in separation, would have no significance.^ 
The fact that the " subjects " of his trials were persons who had betrayed 
no special aptitude for " mental suggestion," made it clearly desirable 
that the bodily action required should be of the very simplest sort. The 
formation of words by a planchette-writer requires, of course, a very 
complex set of muscular co-ordinations : all that M. Richet sought to 
obtain was a single movement or twitch. In the earlier trials an object 
was hidden, and the percipient endeavoured to discover it by means 
of a sort of divining-rod — the idea being that he involuntarily twitched 

^ I have given a fuller description aud criticism of M. Richet's investigations in 
vol. ii. of the Proceedivgs of the S.P.R. 


the rod at the right moment under the influence of " mental suggestion " 
from the agent, who was watching his movements. But where the subject 
of communication is of such an extremely simple kind, very elaborate 
precautions would be needed to guard against unconscious hints. Indi- 
cations from the expression or attitude of the " agent " may be prevented 
by blindfolding the " percipient," and in other ways ; but if the two 
are in close proximity, it is harder to exclude such signs as may be given 
by involuntary movements, or by changes of breathing. M. Richet's 
later experiments were ingeniously contrived so as to obviate this ob- 

The place of a planchette was taken by a table, and M. Richet prefaces 
his account by a succinct statement of the orthodox view as to " table- 
turning." Rejecting altogether the three theories which attribute the 
phenomena to wholesale fraud, to spirits, and to an unknown force, he 
regards the gyrations and oscillations of seance-tables as due wholly to 
the unconscious muscular contractions of the sitters. It thus occurred 
to him to employ a table as an indicator of the movements that might 
be produced, by " mental suggestion." The plan of the experiments 
was as follows. Three persons (C, D, and E) took their seats in a semi- 
circle, at a little table on which their hands rested. One of these three 
was always a " medium " — a term used by M. Richet to denote a person 
liable to exhibit intelligent movements in which consciousness and will 
apparently take no part. Attached to the table was a simple electrical 
apparatus, the efEect of which was to ring a bell whenever the current 
was broken by the tilting of the table. Behind the backs of the sitters 
at the table was another table, on which was a large alphabet, completely 
screened from the view of C, D, and E, even had they turned round and 
endeavoured to see it. In front of this alphabet sat A, whose duty was 
to follow the letters slowly and steadily with a pen, returning at once 
to the beginning as soon as he arrived at the end. At A's side sat B, 
with a note-book ; his duty was to write down the letter at which A's 
pen happened to be pointing whenever the bell rang. This happened 
whenever one of the sitters at the table made the simple movement 
necessary to tilt it. Under these conditions, A and B are apparently 
mere automata. C, D, and E are little more, being unconscious of tilting 
the table, which appears to them to tilt itself ; but even if they tilted it 
consciously, and with a conscious desire to dictate words, they have no 
means of ascertaining at what letter A's pen is pointing at any particular 
moment ; and they might tilt for ever without producing more than an 
endless series of incoherent letters. Things being arranged thus, a sixth 
operator, F, stationed hiinself apart both from the tilting table and from 
the alphabet, and concentrated his thought on some word of his own 
choosing, which he had not communicated to the others. The three 
sitters at the first table engaged in conversation, sang, or told stories ; 
but at intervals the table tilted, the bell rang, and B wrote down the 
letter which A's pen was opposite to at that moment. Now, to the as- 
tonishment of all concerned, these letters, when arranged in a series, 
turned out to produce a more or less close approximation to the word 
of which F was thinking. 

For the sake of comparing the results with those which pure accident 


would give, M. Richet first considers some cases of the latter sort. He 
writes the word NAPOLEON ; he then takes a box containing a number 
of letters, and makes eight draws ; the eight letters, in the order of draw- 
ing, turn out to be U P M T D E Y V. He then places this set below 
the other, thus : — 



Taking the number of letters in the French alphabet to be 24, the proba- 
bility of the correspondence of any letter in the lower line with the letter 
immediately above it is, of course Jj ; and in the series of 8 letters it is 
more probable than not that there will not be a single correspondence. 
If we reckon as a success any case where the letter in the lower line corre- 
sponds not only with the letter above it, but with either of the neighbours 
of that letter in the alphabet^ i^-g-, where L has above it either K, L, or 
M), then a single correspondence represents the most probable amount 
of success. In the actual result, it will be seen, there is just one corre- 
spondence, which happens to be a complete one — the letter E in the 
sixth place. It wUl not be necessary to quote other instances. Suf&ce 
it to say that the total result, of trials involving the use of 64 letters, 
gives 3 exact correspondences, while the expression indicating the most 
probable number was 27 ; and 7 correspondences of the other type, 
while the most probable number was 8. Thus even in this short set of 
trials, the accidental result very nearly coincided with the strict theoretic 

We are now in a position to appreciate the results obtained when the 
factor of " mental suggestion " was introduced. In the first experiment 
made, M. Richet, standing apart both from the table and from the alpha- 
bet, selected from Littre's dictionary a line of poetry which was unknown 
to his friends, and asked the name of the author. The letters obtained 
by the process above described were J F A R D ; and there the tilting 
stopped. After M. Richet's friends had puzzled in vain over this answer, 
he informed them that the author of the line was Racine ; and juxtaposi- 
tion of the letters thus — 


shows that the number of complete successes was 2, which is about 10 
times the fraction representing the most probable number ; and that 
the number of successes of the type where neighbouring letters are reck- 
oned was 3, which is about 5 times the fraction representing the most 
probable number. M. Richet tells us, however, that he was not actually 
concentrating his thought on the author's Christian name. Even so, 

^ This procedure of counting neighbouring letters seems to require some justifica- 
tion. It might be justified by the difiiculty, on the theory of mental suggestion, of 
obtaining an exact coincidence of time between the tilting and the pointing. But I 
think that M. Richet does justify it {Rev. Phil., p. 654), by reference to some other 
experiments — not yet published, but of which he has shown us the record — where 
intelligible words were produced of which no one in the room was, or had been, 
thinking. For here also neighbouring letters appeared, but in such a way as left 
no room for doubt, in the reader's mind, as to what the letter should have been. 


it probably had a subconscious place in his mind, which might suffi- 
ciently account for its appearance. At the same time accident has of 
course a wider scope when there is more than one result that would be 
allowed as successful ; and the amount of success was here not nearly 
striking enough to have any independent weight. 

It is clearly desirable — with the view of making sure that F's mind, 
if any, is the operative one — not to ask a question of which the answer 
might possibly at some time have been within the knoAvledge of the 
sitters at the table ; and in the subsequent experiments the name was 
silently fixed on by F. The most striking success was this ; — 

Name thought of: CHEVALON 

Letters produced : C H E V A L 

Here the most probable number of exact successes was 0, and the 
actual number was 6. 

Taking the sum of eight trials, we find that the most probable number 
of exact successes was 2, and the actual number 14 ; and that the most 
probable number of successes of the other type was 7, and the actual 
number 24. It was observed, moreover, that the correspondences were 
much more numerous in the earlier letters of each set than in the later 
ones. The first three letters of each set were as follows : — 

J F A— N E F— F O Q— H E N— C H E— E P J— C H E— A L L 

J E A— L E G— E S T— H I G— D I E— DOR— C H E— Z K O 

Here, out of 24 trials, the most probable number of exact successes 
being i, the actual number is 8 ; the most probable number of successes 
of the other type being 3, the actual number is 17. The figures become 
still more striking if we regard certain consecutive series in the results. 
Thus the probability of obtaining by chance the three consecutive corre- 
spondences in the first experiment here quoted was -5}^ ; and that of 
obtaining the 6 consecutive correspondences in the CHEVALON 
experiment was about 1 00. 00 0.000 • 

The experiment was repeated four times in another form. A line 
of poetry was secretly and silently written down by the agent, with the 
omission of a single letter. He then asked what the omitted letter was ; 
it was correctly produced in every one of the four trials. The probability 
of such a result was less than lioiEJiooo- 

And now follows a very interesting observation. In some cases, after 
the result was obtained, subsequent trials were made with the same word, 
which of course the agent did not reveal in the meantime ; and the 
amount of successes was sometimes markedly increased on these subse- 
quent trials. Thus, when the name thought of was d'O R M O N T, 
the first three letters produced on the first trial were E P J 
,, ,, ,, second ,, E P F 

third „ EPS 

fourth ,, DOR 

Summing up these four trials, the most probable number of exact 
successes was 0, and the actual number was 3 ; the most probable num- 
ber of successes of the other type was i or at most 2 ; and the actual 
number was 10. The probability of the 3 consecutive successes in the 
last trial was about yo'.TriyTy 

In respect of this name d'Ormont, there was a further very peculiar 


result. On the fourth trial, the letters produced in the manner described 
stood thus :— DOREMIOD. 

Thus, if the name thought of were spelt D O R E M O N D, 

the approximation would be extraordinarily close, the probability of 
the accidental occurrence of the 5 consecutive successes being something 
infinitesimal.^ Now, as long as we are merely aiming at an unassailable 
mathematical estimate of probabilities for each particular case, it does 
not seem justifiable to take ifs of any sort into consideration. M. Richet, 
who was the agent, expressly tells us that he was imagining the name 
spelt as d'Ormont ; and on the strict account, therefore, the success 
reached a point against which the odds, though still enormous, were 
decidedly less enormous than if he had been imagining the other spelling. 
But when we are endeavouring to form a correct view of what really 
takes place, it would be unintelligent not to take a somewhat wider view 
of the phenomena. And such a view seems to show that in those under- 
ground mental regions where M. Richet's results (if more than accidental) 
must have had their preparation, a mistake or a piece of independence 
in spelling is by no means an unusual occurrence. The records of auto- 
matism, quite apart from telepathy, afford many instances of such inde- 
pendence. Thus a gentleman, writing automatically, was puzzled by the 
mention of a friend at Froniunac — a place he had never heard of ; weeks 
afterwards his own writing gave him the correct name — Fond du Lac. 
Mr. Myers' paper, above referred to, contains one case where a planchette 
wrote, " My name is Norman," presumably meaning Norval ; and another, 
witnessed by Professor Sidgwick, where the Greek letter x was auto- 
matically written as K H, with the result that for a time the word com- 
pletely puzzled the writer. And while engaged on this very point I have 
received a letter from Mr. Julian Hawthorne, in which he tells me that 
the spelling of the planchette-writing obtained through the automatism 
of a young child of his own was " much better than in her own letters 
and journals." 

I will insert here an incident to which, since it occurred in connection 
with a person who has been detected in the production of spurious phe- 
nomena, I wish to attribute no evidential importance. Throughout 
this book care has been taken to rest our case exclusively on phenomena 
and records of phenomena derived from (as we believe) quite untainted 
sources ; but there are two reasons which seem to me to make the follow- 
ing experience worth describing. First, those who already believe in 
thought-transference will feel little doubt that we have here an instance 
of it, which is in itself independent of the character and pretensions of 
the percipient ; and this being so, they will find, in the close parallelism 
that the case presents in some points to M. Richet's experiments, an 
interesting confirmation of these. And secondly, it may be useful to 
suggest that thought-transference is probably the true explanation of 
certain results professedly produced by " spiritualistic mediumship " ; 
for till telepathic percipience is allowed for, as a natural human faculty, 
the occasional manifestations of it in dubious circumstances are certain 
to be a source of confusion and error. 

^ Moreover the E in the 4th place had appeared in two of the preceding trials 
and the final D in one of them, 


On September 2, 1885, Mr. F. W. H. Myers, Dr. A. T. Myers, and the 
present writer paid an impromptu visit to a professional " medium " 
in a foreign town, who had no clue whatever to our names and identity. 
We had decided beforehand on a name on which to concentrate our 
thoughts, with a view to getting it reproduced. There was no oppor- 
tunity for employing M. Richet's precautions and checks. The 
" medium," her daughter, and the three visitors sat round a table on 
which their hands were placed, and the present writer pointed to the 
successive letters of a printed alphabet ; at intervals the sound of a rap 
was heard, and the letter thus indicated was written down. Now these 
conditions could not have been considered adequate, had the result 
been that the name in our minds was correctly given ; for though our 
two companions were not apparently looking at us and not in contact 
with us, it might have been supposed that some involuntary and un- 
conscious movement on our part revealed to one of them at what points 
to make the raps. But as the result turned out, it will be seen, I think, 
that this objection does not apply. The name that had been selected 
was John Henry Pratt. The result obtained in the way described was 
JONHNYESROSAT. From the N in the fifth place to the 
end. Dr. Myers and myself regarded the letters that were being given as 
purely fortuitous, and as forming gibberish ; and though Mr. F. W. H. 
Myers detected a method in them, he was as far as we were from expecting 
the successive letters before they appeared. On inspection, the method 
becomes apparent. If in three places an approximation (of the 
sort so often met with by M. Richet) be allowed, and a contiguous 
letter be substituted, the complete name will be found to be given, 
thus ; — 


the first word being phonetically spelt, and the other two being correct 
anagrams. It is highly improbable that such an amount of resemblance 
was accidental ; and it is difiicult to suppose that it v/as due to muscular 
indications unconsciously given by us in accordance with an unconscious 
arrangement of the letters in our minds in phonetic and anagrammatic 
order. If these suppositions be excluded, the only alternative will be 
thought-transference — the letters whose image or sound was transferred 
being modified by the percipient herself, in a way which seems, from 
some experiments unconnected with thought-transference, to be quite 
within the scope of the mind's unconscious operations. ^ But in whatever 
way the knowledge of the letters or syllables reached the " medium's " 
mind, I see no reason to think that the expression of it by raps was other 
than a conscious act. The sounds were such as would be made by gently 
tapping the foot against the wooden frame of the table ; and at a subse- 
quent trial with one of these so-called " mediums " — the daughter — I 
managed by very gradually advancing my own foot to receive on it first 
a part and ultimately the whole of the impact. The movement required 
to make the raps may have become semi-automatic from long habit, 

^ For a curious case of the automatic production of anagrams, see Proceedings of 
the S.P.R., vol. ill., pp. 226-31. 


but can hardly have been unconscious. I may add that, out of a good 
many words and sentences which were spelt out in the same way at 
several different sittings, the case recorded was (with a single doubtful 
exception) the only one that contained the slightest indication of any 
abnormal faculty. 

To return to M. Richet's experiments — a result of a different kind 
v/as the following, which is especially noteworthy as due to the agency 
of an idea that was itself on the verge of the unconscious. M. Richet 
chose a quotation at random from Littre's dictionary, and asked for 
the name of the author, which was Legouve. The letters produced were 
JOSEPHCHD, which looked like a complete failure. But the 
quotation in the dictionary was adjacent to another from the works of 
Joseph Chenier ; and M. Richet's eye, in running over the page, had 
certainly encountered the latter name, which had probably retained a 
certain low place in his consciousness. Another very interesting case 
of a result unintended by the agent, though probably due to something 
in his mind, was this. The name thought of was Victor ; the letters 
produced on three trials were — 



— seemingly complete failures. But it appeared that while the agent 
had been concentrating his thoughts on " Victor," the name of a friend, 
Danet, had spontaneously recurred to his memory. We should, of course, 
be greatly extending the chances of accidental success, if we reckoned 
collocations of letters as successful on the ground of their resemblance 
to any one of the names or words which may have momentarily found 
their way into the agent's mind while the experiment was in progress. 
Here, however, the name seems to have suggested itself with considerable 
persistence, and the resemblance is very close. And if the result may 
fairly be attributed to " mental suggestion," then, of the two names 
which had a certain lodgment in the agent's mind, the one intended to 
be effective was ineffective, and vice-versa. 

It is a remarkable fact that in the few hitherto recorded cases of 
experimental telepathy, v^^here words have been indicated by writing 
or by other movements on the percipient's part, the idea or word trans- 
ferred seems as often as not to have been one which was not at the moment 
occupying the agent's consciousness ; that is to say, the influence has 
proceeded from some part of the agent's mind which is below the threshold 
of conscious attention. (See p. 67-8 below.) This conception of unconscious 
agency — of an " unconscious intelligence " in the agent as well as in the 
percipient — will present itself again very prominently when we come 
to consider the cases of spontaneous telepathy. But the experimental 
instances have a theoretic importance of another sort. They seem to 
exhibit telepathic production of movements by what is at most an 
idea, and not a volition, on the agent's part. This, indeed, is a hypothesis 
which seems justified even by M. Richet's less exceptional results. For 
we must remember that in a sense A is throughout more immediately 
the agent than F ; it is what A's mind contributes, not what F's mind 


contributes, that produces the tilts at the right moments.^ But this 
is of course through no will of A's ; he is ignorant of the required word, 
and has absolutely no opportunity of bringing his volition into play. 
His " agency " is of a wholly passive sort ; and his mind, as it follows 
the course of his pen, is a mere conduit-pipe, whereby knowledge of a 
certain kind obtains access to the " unconscious intelligence " which 
evokes the tilts. If, then, the knowledge manifests itself as impulse, 
can we avoid the conclusion that in this particular mode of access — in 
" mental suggestion " or telepathy as such — a certain imptilsive quality 
is involved. We shall encounter further signs of such an impulsive quality 
among the spontaneous cases. ^ (See pp. 204, 350-1.) 

But of course the relation between F and the " medium " plays also 
a necessary part in the result ; the impulse to tilt when a particular letter 
is reached only takes effect when it falls (so to speak) on ground prepared 
by " mental suggestion " from F — on a mind in which the word imagined 
by him has obtained an unconscious lodgment. The unconscious part 
of the percipient's mind would thus be the scene of confluence of two 
separate telepathic streams, which proceed to combine there in an intelli- 
gent way — one proceeding from F's mind, which produces unconscious 

^ When A, in pointing, began at the beginning of the alphabet, the sense of time 
might conceivably have led to an unconscious judgment as to the point arrived at. 
This idea had occurred to M. Richet. It seems, however, an unnecessary multiplica- 
tion of hypothesis ; for we learn from him that in some trials A began at uncertain 
places, and that under these conditions coherent words were obtained. The fact 
that so often the approximate letter was given, instead of the exact one, might seem 
at first sight to favour the hypothesis of unconscious reckoning ; but it wiU be 
observed that exactly the same approximations took place in our own experiment 
(p. 62), where the alphabet was in the " medium's " sight. 

° The impulse might no doubt be otherwise accounted for if we supposed that a 
close connection was established in F's mind between the idea of the object — i.e., 
the successive letters — and the idea of the movement, and that this complex idea 
was what was transferred and what ultimately took effect. But it is hard to apply 
this hypothesis to cases where a word is produced which, though latent in F's mind, 
has no resemblance to the word whose production he is willing. The transference 
of the idea of the latent word, even to the exclusion of the right word, can be quite 
conceived ; but can we suppose that, subconsciously or unconsciously, an idea of 
movement was combined with the idea of its letters in the agent's mind, at the very 
moment when that on which his attention was fixed, and with which ex hypothesi 
the conscious idea of movement ivas connected, was a quite different set of letters ? 
Can we suppose that the idea of movement overflowed into the unconscious region 
of his mind, and there on its own account formed an alliance with alien elements, 
the effect of which on the percipient would prevent the effect intended ? It must 
be remembered that where a word which is not the one intended gets transferred 
from F to the " medium," there is no knowledge, conscious or unconscious, on F's 
part, as to what that word will be. A number of words are latent in his mmd ; one 
of these finds an echo in another mind. But how should the idea of movement find 
out which particular one, out of all the words, is destined thus to find an echo, so 
as to associate itself with its letters and no others ? And if we suppose the association 
to be between the unconscious idea of movement and the unconscious idea of letters 
in general, this is no less dissimilar and opposed to anything that the conscious part 
of F's mind has conceived. For it is not in letters as such, but in the exclusive 
constituents of a particular word, that he is interested ; if indeed he is interested in 
anything beyond the word as a whole. The difficulty here seems to justify the 
suggestion — with which I imagine that M. Richet would agree — that the physiological 
impulse does not depend on any idea of movement, or any special direction of the 
agent's will to that result. This might be tested, if F were a person gnorant of the 
form of the experiment, and out of sight of the table, 


knowledge of the word, and the other proceeding from A's mind, which 
produces an unconscious image of the successive letters. ^ Another possible 
supposition would be that F's thought affects, not the " medium," but 
A ; or conversely, that A's thought affects not the " medium," but F ; — 
that A obtains unconscious knowledge of the word, or that F obtains 
unconscious knowledge of the letter, and so is enabled to communicate 
an impulse to the " medium " at the right moment. And we should then 
have to suppose a secret understanding between two parts of A's or F's 
mind, the part which takes account of the letters of the alphabet, and the 
part which takes account of the letters of the word — the former being 
conscious and the latter unconscious, or vice versd, according as A or F 
is the party affected. 

One hesitates to launch oneself on the conceptions which these experi- 
ments open up ; but the only alternative would be to question the facts 
from an evidential point of view. So regarded, they are of an extremely 
simple kind ; and if their genuineness be granted, we are reft once and 
for all from our old psychological moorings. The whole question of the 
psychical constitution of man is opened to its furthest depths ; and our 
central conception — telepathy — the interest of which, even in its simpler 
phases, seemed almost unsurpassable, takes on an interest of a wholly 
unlooked-for kind. For it now appears as an all-important method or 
instrument for testing the mind in its hidden parts, and for measuring 
its unconscious operations. 

§ 14. The above sketch (for it is little more) may give an idea of 
the chief experimental results so far obtained in the course of serious 
and systematic research. But though the investigation may be labori- 
ously and consecutively pursued by those who make a special study of 
the subject, it is one which admits also of being prosecuted in a more 
haphazard and sporadic manner. A group of friends may take it up for 
a few evenings, and then get tired of it ; and it is quite possible for valuable 
results to be obtained without any recognition of their value. One or 
two specimens of these casual successes that we so frequently hear of 
may be worth citing, if only because the knowledge that such results 
are obtainable may stimulate further trials. Our own satisfaction in 
such fragments of evidence is often more than counterbalanced by the 
impossibility of getting our friends to devote time and trouble to the 

The following case, received in September, 1885, from Mrs. Wilson, 
of Westal, Cheltenham, is interesting as an apparent victory of " thought- 
reading " over " muscle-reading." A group of five " willers," one of 

^ It will be seen that the results of such " unconscious intelligence " go consider- 
ably beyond the received results of mere " unconscious cerebration." Unconscious 
cerebration is amply competent to produce such seemingly intelligent actions as 
ordinary writing ; but what is now done more resembles the formation of a word by letters from a heap, or type-writing by a person who is unused to his instru- 
ment. The process is not one in which every item is connected by long-standing 
association with the one before and after it ; every item is independent, and implies 
the recognition, at an uncertain moment, of a particular relation — that between the 
next letter required for the word and the same letter in its place in a quite distinct 


whom was in contact with the would-be percipient, were to concentrate 
their minds on the desire that the latter should sit down to the piano 
and strike the middle C. Had she done so, the result would have been 
worth little ; but this was what happened : — 

" When A. I. entered blindfolded — her hand in the hand of B., held 
over the forehead — M. A. W. was possessed with the desire to will her, 
without bodily contact, to come to her and give her a kiss on the forehead, 
and she at once exerted (unknown to the others) all her will to achieve this 
object. A. I. came slowly up to M. A. W., till she stood quite close, 
touching her, and commenced bending down towards her, when M. A. W., 
thinking it was hardly fair to succeed against the other ' willers,' tried to 
reverse her will, and with intense effort willed A. I. to turn away and not 
give the intended kiss. Slowly A. I. raised her head, stood a moment still, 
then turned in another direction towards the piano, but not near it, and sat 
down in an armchair. A few seconds after she said : ' I can't feel any 
impression now, nor any wish to do anything.' She was released from her 
bandage and questioned as to her feelings. ' Did you get any impression 
of what you had to do ? What did you feel ? ' She replied : ' I had a 
distinct feeling that I had to go and kiss M. A. W. on the forehead ; but 
when I came up to someone and bent down to do it, I was sensible of a strong 
feeling that I was not to do it — and could not do it ; and after that I could 
get no impression whatever.' 

" Mary A. Wilson. 

" Alice M. W. Ingram." 

The percipient in both the following cases was our friend, the Hon. 
Alexander Yorke. In the summer of 1884 he mentioned to two nieces, 
as a joke, that some one had suggested to him the possibility of discerning 
the contents of letters pressed to the forehead ; and this quack suggestion 
led by accident to an apparently genuine experiment in thought-trans- 

The account is from the Misses Adeane, of 19, Ennismore Gardens, 

" June, 1884. 
" Taking a letter from a heap on my mother's table, I glanced at the 
contents, and then placed it on my uncle's head, where he held it. A 
minute had hardly elapsed before he said, quite quietly, ' This letter is not 
addressed to your mother.' He then paused, as if waiting for another 
impression. ' It is written to Charlie ' (my brother), and another pause, 
' by an uncle — not a real uncle — a sort of uncle.' Another pause, ' It 
must be about business.' At this point I was so much astonished that I 
could not help telling him how true and correct all his impressions had 
been, which practically put an end to the experiment by giving a 
clue as to what the business was, &c. M}' younger sister was the only other 
person in the room at the time. The letter was addressed to my brother 
at Oxford by his trustee, and uncle by marriage, and related to business ; 
he had forwarded it to my mother to read, and I selected it partly by 
chance, and partly because I thought, if there was only guessing in the 
case, it would have been a puzzler. My uncle, Mr. Yorke, does not know 
the writer of the letter or his handwriting. 

" Marie C. Adeane. 

" Maude Adeane." 


Again, the mother of these informants, Lady Elizabeth Biddulph, 
writes to us, on June 12, 1S84 : — 

" My girls came down to the drawing-room with my brother, Mr. 

Alexander Yorke, about 3.30 on Sunday afternoon, May iSth. I was 

sitting with one of Mr. Biddulph's brothers, and his sister, Mrs. L, They 

had just brought me a letter sent by mistake to 31, Eaton Place. Presently 

Captain and Lady Edith Adeane came in, and then my two girls began 

telling us of what had happened upstairs. I immediately rushed at the 

letter I had just received, and laughing, held it to Mr. Yorke's forehead : 

he objected, saying, ' I shall probably fail, and then you will only laugh 

at the whole thing.' He thrust my hand away, and I left the matter 

alone and went on talking to my relations. Presently my brother rose 

to go, and hesitating rather, said, ' Well, my dear, the impression about 

that letter is so strong that I must tell you the Duchess of St. Albans 

wrote it.' It was so. She does not correspond with me ; the letter, too, 

having been addressed by mistake to 31, Eaton Place, made it more 

unlikely there should be any clue, and its contents were purely of a 

business-like character. ,, t- t^ -.^ 

Elizabeth P. Biddulph. 

On another similar occasion, the present writer saw a letter taken 
up casually from a writing-table, and held to Mr. Yorke's forehead, in 
such a way that he could not possibly catch a glimpse of the writing. 
He correctly described the writer as an elderly man, formerly connected 
with himself, but could not name him. The writer had, in fact, been 
his tutor at one time. It need hardly be said that no importance is to 
be attributed to the holding of the letters to the forehead. In every case 
the writer and the contents of the letter were known to some person in 
the percipient's immediate vicinity, and that being so, any other hypo- 
thesis than that of thought-transference is gratuitous. 

The following incident is an excellent casual illustration of the motor 
form of experiment to which the cases described on p. 63 belonged. 
It presents, indeed, a point which would lead some to place it in a separate 
category : the names unexpectedly produced were those of dead persons. 
But where the " communication " contains nothing beyond the content, 
or the possible manufacture, of the minds of the living persons present, 
it seems reasonable to refer it to those znirids — at any rate until the 
power of the dead to communicate with the living be established by 
accumulated and irrefragable evidence. 

One evening in August, 1885, some friends were assembled in a house 
at Rustington ; and the younger members of the party suggested " table- 
turning " as an amusement. Three ladies — Mrs. W. B. Richmond, 
Mrs. Perceval Clark, and another — were seated apart from the larger 
group ; and a small table on which they laid their hands, and which was 
light enough to be easily moved by unconscious pressure, soon became 
lively. The alphabet being repeated, the sentence " Harriet knew me 
years ago," was tilted out. The name of me was asked for. " Kate 
Gardiner " was the answer. These names conveyed nothing to the three 
ladies at the table, but they caught the attention of a member of the 
other group, Mr. R, L. Morant. This gentleman was acting as holiday- 


tutor to Mrs. Richmond's boys, and had not before that been acquainted 
with any of the party ; nor had Mrs. Richmond herself the sHghtest 
knowledge of his family history. On hearing the names, he asked that 
" Harriet's " surname should be given. The name " Morant " was tilted 
out. In reply to further questions, put of course in such a way as not to 
suggest the answers, and while Mr. Morant remained at the further end 
of the room, the tilts produced the information that Harriet and Kate 
met at Kingstown, and that Harriet was Mr. Morant's great-aunt, his 
father " Robin " Morant being her nephew. 

We have received in writing three independent and concordant 
accounts of this occurrence — from Mrs. Richmond, from the third lady at 
the table (who is hostile to the subject, but who was probably the un- 
conscious percipient), and from Mr. Morant, who adds : — 

" I felt distinctly and always rightly, when it would answer, and what 
it would answer. I found that it always answered the questions of which 
/ knew the answer ; and was silent when I did not : e.g., it would not 
say how many years ago [the meeting was]. I was quite ignorant of where 
they met ; that was the only answer beyond my knowledge. [It is not 
known if this answer was correct.] All the names given are correct : my 
father's name was Robert, but he was always called Robin. Kate Gardiner 
was a friend of my father ; I believe she helped to arrange his marriage. 
Harriet Morant was his aunt. I am ignorant of much about this aunt ; 
and from reading some old correspondence in June, I was particularly 
anxious to learn more about these names. No one at the table can possibly 
have known anything whatever about any one of the names given." 

It is, of course, a matter of interest to know what indications of gen- 
uine telepathy may be afiorded by these less systematic trials. For 
experiments with a comparatively small number of " subjects " (like 
those before described), however conclusive we may consider them as 
to the existence of a special faculty, afford no means of judging how 
common that faculty may be. If it exists, we have no reason to expect 
it to be extremely uncommon ; on the contrary, we should rather expect 
to find an appreciable degree of it tolerably widely diffused. But (putting 
aside the results of §7, above), our only means, at present, for judging 
how far this is the case is by considering the evidence of persons who 
were, so to speak, amateur observers, and who in some cases were not 
even aware that the matter had any scientific importance. Such evidence 
must, of course, be received with due allowances, and, if it stood alone, 
might be wholly inadequate to establish the case for telepathic phe- 
nomena ; but if these be otherwise established, it would be illogical to 
shut our eyes to alleged results which fall readily into the same class, 
provided the trials appear to have been conducted with intelligence 
and care. 

It is unnecessary to say that this last proviso at once excludes the 
vast majority of the cases which one reads about in the newspapers, 
or hears discussed in private circles. We have already seen that the 
subject of " thought-reading " has obtained its vogue by dint of exhibitions 
which, however clever and interesting, have no sort of claim to the name. 
The prime requisite is that the conditions shall preclude the possibility 
of unconscious guidance ; that contact between the agent and the per- 
cipient shall be avoided ; or that the form of experiment shall not require 


movements, but the percipient shall give his notion of the transferred 
impression — card, number, taste, or whatever it may be — by word of 
mouth. That these conditions have been observed is itself an indication 
that experiments have been intelligently conducted ; and the cases of 
this sort of which we have received records are at any rate numerous 
enough to dispel the disquieting sense that the possibility of accumulating 
evidence for our hypothesis depends on the transient endowment of a 
few most exceptional individuals, I have spoken above of the urgent 
importance of spreading the responsibility for the evidence as widely 
as possible — in other words, of largely increasing the number of persons, 
reputed honest and intelligent, who must be either knaves or idiots if 
the alleged transference of thought took place through any hitherto 
recognised channels. And our hopes in this direction are, of course, 
the better founded, in so far as the necessary material for experimenta- 
tion is not of extreme rarity. If what has been here said induces a wider 
and more systematic search for this material, and increased perseverance 
in following up all indications of its existence, a very distinct step will 
have been taken towards the general acceptance of the facts. 



§ I. In all the cases of the action of one mind on another that were con- 
sidered in the last chapter, both the parties concerned — percipient as 
well as agent — were consciously and voluntarily taking part in the ex- 
periment with a definite idea of certain results in view. Spontaneous 
telepathy, as its name implies, differs from experimental in precisely 
this particular — that neither agent nor percipient has consciously or 
voluntarily formed an idea of any result whatever. Something happens 
for which both alike are completely unprepared. But between these 
two great classes of cases there is a sort of transitional class, which is 
akin to each of the others in one marked feature. In this class the agent 
acts consciously and voluntarily ; he exercises a concentration of mind 
with a certain object, as in experimental thought-transference ; he is 
in this way truly experimenting. ^ But the percipient is not consciously 
or voluntarily a party to the experiinent ; as in spontaneous telepathy, 
his mind has not been in any way adjusted to the result ; he finds himself 
affected in a certain manner, he knov/s not by what means. 

In another way, also, this class of cases serves as a connecting link 
between the other two. For it introduces us to results produced at a 
much greater distance than any of those that have been so far described. 
Not that greater distance between the agent and percipient is in any 
way a distinguishing mark of the spontaneous, as opposed to the experi- 
mental, effects ; the former no less than the latter — as we shall see reason 
to think— may take place between persons in the same room. But in 
the large majority of the spontaneous cases that we shall have to notice, 
the distance was considerable. And in the transitional class we meet 
with specimens of both kinds — effects produced in the same room, and 
effects produced at a distance of many miles. 

§ 2. In these transitional cases — as in those of the last chapter— the 
effect may show itself either in ideas and sensations which the percipient 
describes, or in actions of a more or less automatic sort. The motor cases 
have been by far the most heard of, and are, indeed, popularly supposed 
to be tolerably common ; but this idea has no. real foundation. The alle- 
gations of certain persons that, e.g., they can make strangers in church 
or in the theatre turn their heads, by " willing " that they should do so, 

^ It should be observed, however, that unless he records his experiment at the 
time, the case will stand on a diHercut footing from those of the last chapter. 



cannot be accepted as establishing even a primd facie case. Till accurate 
records are kept, such cases must clearly be reckoned as mere illusions 
of post hoc propter hoc — of successes noted and failures forgotten. Au- 
thentic instances of the kind seem, as it happens, always to be more or 
less closely connected with mesmerism. And even as regards mesmeric 
cases where a definite action or course of action is produced by silent 
or distant control, the first thing to remark is that many phenomena 
are popularly referred to this category which have not the slightest claim 
to a place in it. The common platform exhibition, where a profession 
is made of " willing " a particular person to attend, and he rushes into 
the room at the appointed moment, is not to be attributed to any in- 
fluence then and there exercised, but is the effect of the command or the 
threat impressed on his mind when in its wax-like condition of trance 
on a previous evening. Nor, as a rule, do the cases where " subjects " 
are said to be drawn by their controller from house to house, or even to 
a distant town, prove any specific power of his will, or anything beyond 
the general influence and attraction which he has established, and which 
is liable every now and then to recrudesce in his absence, and to manifest 
itself in this startling form.^ 

Very much rarer are the really crucial cases v/here the intended effect 
— the origination or inhibition of a motor-impulse — is brought about at the 
moment by a deliberate exercise of volition. In some of the more striking 
instances, the inhibition has been of that specific sort which temporarily 
alters the whole condition of the " subject," and induces the mesmeric 
trance. In the Zoist for April, 1849, Mr. Adams^ a surgeon of Lymington, 
writing four months after the event, describes how a guest of his own 
twice succeeded in mesmerising the man-servant of a common friend at 
a distance of nearly fifty miles, the time when the attempt was to be 
made having in each case been privately arranged with the man's master. 
On the first occasion, the unwitting " subject " fell at the time named, 
7.30 p.m., into a state of profound coma not at all resembling natural 
sleep, from which he was with difficulty aroused. He said that " before 
he fell asleep he had lost the use of his legs ; he had endeavoured to kick 
the cat away, and could not do so." On the second occasion a similar 
fit was induced at 9.30 a.m., when the man was in the act of walking 
across a meadow to feed the pigs. But the following case is more striking, 
as resting on the testimony of a man whose name must perforce be treated 
with respect. Dr. Esdaile says : — ^ 

(i) "I had been looking for a blind man on whom to test the imagina- 
tion theory, and one at last presented himself. This man became so 
susceptible that, by making him the object of my attention, I could 
entrance him in whatever occupation he was engaged, and at any distance 
within the hospital enclosure. . . . My first attempt to influence the blind 
man was made hy gazing at him silently over a wall, while he was engaged 

^ Signs of this general mesmeric influence occur occasionally in the records of 
witchcraft. (See, e.g.. The Discovery of Sorcery and Witchcraft practised by Jane 
Wenham., London, 1712.) 

' Natural and Mesmeric Clairvoyance, pp. 227-8. See also Mr. Cattell's case in 
the Zoist, vol. viii., p. 143 ; where the special circumstances seem sufficiently to 
exclude the hypothesis of expectancy. 


in the act of eating his sohtary dinner, at the distance of twenty yards. He 
gradually ceased to eat, and in a quarter of an hour was profoundly 
entranced and cataleptic. This was repeated at the most untimely hours, 
when he could not possibly know of my being in his neighbourhood, and 
always with like results." 

Cases of waking a hypnotic " subject " by the silent exercise of the 
will have been recorded by Reichenbach, ^ and by the Committee ap- 
pointed by the French Royal Academy of Medicine to investigate " animal 
magnetism." In their Report, published in 1831, this Committee say 
that they " could entertain no doubt as to the very decided effects which 
magnetism produced upon the ' subject,' even without his knowledge, 
and at a certain distance." [A more recent case will be found in case 
No. 690 in the original edition not here reproduced.] 

§ 3. But, besides such examples of the induction of trance, the records 
of mesmerism contain a good many cases of the induction or inhibition 
of particular actions ; and where persons who appeared to be in a per- 
fectly normal state have had their will similarly dominated, or their 
actions dominated against their will, it has almost always, I think, been 
through the agency of some person who has given indications of con- 
siderable mesmeric power. The Rev. J. Lawson Sisson, Rector of Eding- 
thorpe. North Walsham (whose interest in mesmerism, like that of so 
many others, began with the discovery of his own power to alleviate 
pain), describes the following experiment as having been performed on 
an incredulous lady, whose first experience of his influence had been a 
few moments' subjection to the slightest possible hypnotic process in 
the course of the evening. 

(2) " Conversation went on on other topics, and then fcrilowed a light 
supper. Several of the gentlemen, myself among the numbef, were 
obliged to stand. I stood talking to a friend, against the wall, and at the 
back of Miss Cooke, some three or four feet off her. Her wine-glass was 
filled, and I made up my mind that she should not drink without my 
' willing.' I kept on talking and watching her many futile attempts to 
get the glass to her mouth. Sometimes she got it a few inches from the 
level of the table, sometimes she got it a little higher, but she evidently 
felt that it was not for some reason to be done. At last I said, ' Miss 
Cooke, why don't you drink your wine ? ' and her answer was at once, ' I 
will when you let me.' " 

The Zoist contains several cases of apparently the same kind ; though, 
unfortunately, the narrators have seldom recognised the need of making 
it clear that the possibility of physical indications was completely ex- 
cluded. [Nos. 3 and 4 here omitted.] 

Most remarkable of all are the cases of acts performed under the 
silent control of the late Mr. H. S. Thompson, of Moorfields, York, though 
here again we have to regret that the signed corroboration of the persons 
affected was not obtained at the time. Mr. Thompson's interest in mes- 
merism lay almost entirely in the opportunities which his power gave 

^ Der Sensitive Mensch (Stuttgart, 1865), vol. ii,, pp. 665-6. 


him of alleviating suffering ; and having succeeded in giving relief to a 
patient, it is to him a comparatively small matter to be able to say [Zoist, 
vol. v., p. 257) : — 

" I have often, by the will, made her perform a series of trifling acts, 
though, when asked why she did them, she has answered that she did 
them without observing them, and had no distinct wish to do them as 
far as she was aware." 

Some of his descriptions, however, are more explicit. He gave us 
permission to publish, for the first time on his authority, an account 
of an after-dinner incident which made much sensation in Yorkshire 
society when it occurred, and which even twenty years afterwards was 
still alluded to with bated breath, as a manifest proof of the alliance of 
mesmerists with the devil. The account was sent to us in November, 1883 . 

(5) " In 1837, 1 first became acquainted with mesmerism through Baron 
Dupotet. The first experiment I tried was upon a Mrs. Thornton, who 
was staying with some friends of mine, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Harland, of 
Sutton. She told me that no one had ever succeeded in mesmerising 
her, though she soon submitted to being mesmerised by me. She went to 
sleep at once, and was very strongly influenced by my will. One night 
when I was dining with Mr. Harland, after the ladies had left the room, 
some gentleman proposed that I should will her to come back again, 
which I did. She came directly, and after this I could not go to the house 
without her going to sleep, even if she did not know that I was there." 

In the same letter Mr. Thompson continues : — 

" I have met with many cases of thought-reading, but none so distinct 
as in a little gii'l named Crowther. She had had brain fever, which had 
caused a protrusion of the eyes. Of this ill effect I soon relieved her, and 
found that she was naturally a thought-reader. I practised on her a good 
deal, and at length there was no need for me to utter what I wished to 
say, as she always knew my thoughts. I was showing some experiments 
to a Dr. Simpson, and he asked me to will her to go and pick a piece of 
white heather out of a large vase full of flowers there was in the room, and 
bring it to me. She did this as quickly as if I had spoken to her. All 
these experiments were performed when the girl was awake, and not in a 
mesmeric sleep." 

The next account (received in 1883) is none the less interesting that 
it is of a partial failure ; and in this case we have the advantage of the 
percipient's own testimony. The lady who sent it to us is a cousin of 
Mr. Thompson's and has had other similar experiences ; but at this distance 
of time can only recollect the following, whose absurdity vividly 
impressed her mind. 

(6) "I was sitting one day in the library. No one else was in the room 
except my cousin, Henry Thompson, who was reading at the other end of 
the room. Gradually I felt an unaccountable impulse stealing over me, 
an impulse to go up to him and kiss him. I had been in the habit of kiss- 
ing him from childhood upwards at intervals, when I left the sitting-room 


before going to bed, or when he came to say good-bye at the termination 
of a visit, &c., as a matter of course, not of pleasure. In this instance 
the incHnation to kiss him struck me as being so extraordinary and 
ridiculous as to make it an impossibility. I have no recollection of leaving 
the room, though I may have done so, but in the evening when he said 
to me at dinner, ' I tried to will you to-day and failed,' I answered at 
once, ' I knew perfectly when you were willing me, and what you wanted 
me to do, though I did not suspect it at the time. But you were willing 
me to kiss you in the library, and I had the greatest inclination to do so '. ' 
' And why would you not ? ' he asked, and laughed immoderately at my 
answering that I was so astonished at myself for feeling an inclination to 
kiss him that I resisted it at once. I had never been mesmerised by him, 
and my will v/as not subservient to his. L. F. C." 

And here a word may be in place as to the relation of the will to tele- 
pathic experiments in general. That the will of the agent or operator 
is usually in active play, admits, of course, of no doubt ; but the nature 
and extent of its operation are sometimes misconceived. In ordinary 
thought-transference, it is probably effective only so far as it implies 
strong concentration of the agent's own attention on the sensation or 
image which he seeks to convey. As a rule he will naturally desire that 
the experiment should succeed ; but, provided only that the necessary 
concentration be given, there is nothing to show, or even to suggest 
that, if for some special reason he desired failure, his desire would ensure 
that result. It is somewhat different with cases like the above, where 
a distinct set of visible actions — as that the performer shall walk to a 
particular spot or select a particular object — is the thing aimed at; in 
so far as there the desire is likely to be keener and more persistent. When 
we are picturing a series of movements to be performed by a person in 
our sight, we easily come to regard that person's physique under a half- 
illusion that we can direct it from moment to moment, as though it were 
our own ; and we are more on edge, so to speak, than when we are merely 
imagining (say) a word or a number, and waiting for the " subject " to 
name it, or write it down. But even here there is little foundation for 
the idea that the operator's will in any way dominates the other will, or 
that he succeeds by superior " strength of will" in any ordinary sense. 
It is still primarily an image, not any form of force, that is conveyed — 
but an image of movement, i.e., an image whose nervous correlate in the 
brain is in intimate connection with motor-centres ; and the muscular 
effect is thus evoked while the " subject " remains a sort of spectator 
of his own conduct. The last example of Mr. Thompson's powers goes 
as near as any I know to the actual production of an effect on the self- 
determining faculty of a person in a normal state ; but even here, it will 
be observed, the action suggested was of a simple sort, and one which 
the " subject " had often voluntarily performed. And in mesmeric 
cases — as in the experiments on inhibition of utterance in the last chapter 
— ^where, no doubt, the self-determining faculty is often to a great extent 
abrogated, we must still beware of concluding that the "subject's" 
will is dominated and directed this way or that by a series of special 
jets of energy. It is rather that his instinct of choice, his free-will as a 
whole, has lapsed, as one of the general features of the trance-condition. 


It is worth noting, moreover, that in none of the cases quoted have the 
" wilier " or the " willed " been further removed from one another than 
two neighbouring rooms. The liability to have definite acts compelled 
from a distance, which figures in romance and in popular imagination 
as the natural and terrible result of mesmeric influence, is precisely the 
result for which we can find least evidence. 

We have, however, in our own collection, two first-hand instances 
where the distance between the agent and the percipient was greater, 
and where the action to be performed was of a rather more complicated 
sort. We received the following case in 1883 from the agent, Mr. S. H. B., 
a friend of our own. The first part of the account was copied by us from 
a MS. book, in which Mr. B. has recorded this and other experi- 

(7) " On Wednesday, 26th July, 1882, at 10.30 p.m., I willed very 
strongly that Miss V., who was living at Clarence Road, Kew, should 
leave any part of that house in which she might happen to be at the time, 
and that she should go into her bedroom, and reraove a portrait from her 

" When I next saw her she told me that at this particular time and 
on this day, she felt strongly impelled to go up to her room and remove 
something from her dressing-table, but she was not sure which article to 
misplace. She did so and removed an article, but not the framed portrait 
which I had thought of. 

" Between the time of the occurrence of this fact and that of our next 
meeting, I received one or two letters, in which the matter is alluded to 
and any questions concerning it answered. S. H. B."^ 

Mr. B. was himself at Southall on the evening in question. He has 
shown the letters of which he speaks to the present writer, and has allowed 
him to copy extracts. 

On Thursday, July 27th, without having seen or had any communica- 
tion with Mr. B., Miss Verit}' (now residing in Castellain Road, W., who 
allows the publication of her name) wrote to him as follows : — 

" What were you doing between ten and eleven o'clock on Wednesday 
evening ? If you make me so restless, I shall begin to be afraid of you. I 
positively cozdd not stay in the dining-room, and I believe you meant 
me to be upstairs, and to move something on my dressing-table. I want 
to see if you know what it was. At any rate, I am sure you were thinking 
about me." 

Mr. B. then wrote and told Miss Verity that the object he had thought 
of was Mr. G.'s photograph. She answered : — 

" I must tell you it was not G.'s photo, but something on my table 
which perhaps you would never think of. However, it w^as really wonder- 
ful how impossible I found it to think or do anything until I came upstairs, 
and I knew for certam that your thoughts vv'ere here ; in fact, it seemed as 
if you were very near." 

[More than a year after these letters vv-ere written, an absolutely 
concordant account was given vivd voce to the present writer b}^ Miss 
Verity, whom he believes to be a thoroughly careful and conscientious 

^ This entry is undated ; but Mr. B. assures us that it was written very eoon 
after the evout. 


We have a parallel instance to this on equally trustworthy authority ; 
but the person impressed has a dread of the subject, and will not give his 
testimony for publication. 

§ 4. I now turn to the second class of transitional cases ; that where 
ideas and sensations unconnected with movement are excited, in a person 
who is not a conscious party to the experiment, by the concentrated 
but unexpressed will of another. And here, even more than before, 
I have to admit how scanty in every sense are the accounts which former 
observers have published. Of ideational cases, one of the most striking, 
if correctly reported, is that given by the Rev. L. Lewis in the Zoist, 
vol. v., p. 324 [No. (8) not reproduced here. — Ed.]. 

The following instance, however, has more weight with us, who know 
the observer, and have had ample proof of his accuracy. Mr. G. A. Smith, 
of 2, Elms Road, Dulwich (who has assisted us in most of our mesmeric 
work), narrated the incident to us within two months of its occurrence ; 
and has now supplied a written account. 

(9) " One evening in September, 1882, at Brighton, I was trying some 
experiments with a Mrs. W., a ' subject ' whom I had frequently hypno- 
tised. I found that she could give surprisingly minute descriptions of 
spots which she knew — with details v/hich her normal recollection could 
never have furnished. I did not for a moment regard these descriptions as 
implying anything more than intensified memory, but resolved to see 
what would happen when she was requested to examine a place where she 
had never been to. I therefore requested her to look into the manager's 
room at the Aquarium, and to tell me all about it. Much to my surprise, 
she immediately began to describe the apartment with great exactness, and 
in perfect conformity with my own knowledge of it. I was fairly aston- 
ished ; but it occurred to me that although my subject's memory could 
not be at work, my own mind might be acting on hers. To test this, I 
imagined strongly that I saw a large open umbrella on the table, and in a 
minute or so the lady said, in great wonder : ' Well ! how odd, there's a 
large open umbrella on the table,' and then began to laugh. It, therefore, 
seemed clear that her apparent knowledge of the room had been derived 
somehow from my own mental picture of it ; but I may add I was never 
able to produce the same effect again," 

This may be fairly reckoned among transitional cases, inasmuch as 
the lady was quite unaware at the time that any person's influence was 
being brought to bear upon her. 

[Cases 687, 688, 689, 690, belonging to this and the previous section, 
which include important recent examples of telepathic results obtained by 
French men of science in connection with hypnotism, were given by Gur- 
ney in his " additional chapter," but are not reproduced here. — Ed,] 

§ 5. It will be seen that in both these last examples the agent and 
percipient were close together, and the latter v/as in the hypnotic state. 
And among transitional cases, we have absolutely no specimens of the 
deliberate transference of a perfectly unexciting idea — as of a card or 
a name — to a distant and normal percipient. This may appear an uu- 


fortunate lacuna in the transition that I am attempting to make ; but 
the fact itself can hardly surprise us. It must be remembered that in 
most of our experimental cases there was a true analogy to the passivity 
of hypnotism, in the adjustment of the percipient's mind, the sort of 
inward blankness and receptivity which he or she established by a de- 
liberate effort ; that even where this was absent, the rapport involved 
in the mere sense of personal proximity to the agent probably went for 
something in the results ; and also that (with few exceptions) the sort 
of image to be expected was known — that the percipient realised whether 
it was a card, a name, or a taste. That an impression should flash across 
a mind in this state of preparation is clearly no guarantee that anything 
similar will occur when the percipient is occupied with wholly different 
things, while the agent is secretly concentrating his thoughts on a card 
or a taste in another place. And indeed the supposed conditions — a 
purely unemotional idea on the part of the would-be agent, and a state 
of complete unpreparedness on the part of the person whom it is at- 
tempted to influence — seem the most unfavourable possible : where the 
percipient mind is unprepared — that is, where the condition on one side 
is unfavourable — we should naturally expect that a stronger impulsive 
force must be supplied from the other side. But we have further to note 
that, even if the trial succeeded, the success would be hard to establish. 
For to the percipient the impression would only be a fleeting and un- 
interesting item in the swarm of faint ideas that pass every minute 
through the mind ; and as he is ex hypothesi ignorant that the trial is 
being made, there would be nothing to fix this particular faint item in 
his memory. It would come and go unmarked, like a thousand others. 
And this same possibility must be equally borne in mind in respect of 
spontaneous telepathy. For though in most of the cases to be quoted 
in the sequel, a special impulsive force will be inferred from the fact that 
the agent was at the time in a state ps3^chically or physically abnormal, 
we must not be too positive that the telepathic action is confined to the 
well-marked or ostensive instances on which the proof of it has to depend. 
The abnormality of the agent's state, though needed to make the coinci- 
dence striking enough to be included in this book, may not for all that 
be an indispensable condition ; genuine transferences of idea, of which 
we can take no account, may occur in the more ordinary conditions of 
life ; and the continuity of the experimental and the spontaneous cases 
may thus conceivably be complete. Meanwhile, however, a certain gap 
in the evidence has to be admitted ; and there is nothing for it but to pass 
on to the more extreme cases where the senses begin to be effected — 
the percipients having been for the most part in a normal state, and at 
various distances from the agents. 

§ 6. The sensory cases to be found in the Zoist are a trifle less frag- 
mentary than some that I have quoted, but depend again on the un- 
corroborated statement of a single observer. Mr. H. S. Thompson 
(vol. iv.y p. 263) says : — 

(10) "I have tried an amusing experiment two or three times very 
successfully. I have taken a party (without informing them of my 


intentions) to witness some galvanic experiments, and whilst submitting 
myself to continued slight galvanic shocks, have fixed my attention on 
some one of the party. The first time I tried this I was much amused by 
the person soon exclaiming, ' Well, it is very strange, but I could fancy that 
I feel a sensation in my hands and arms as though I were subject to the 
action of the battery.' I found that out of seven persons, /ozrr experienced 
similar sensations more or less. None of them showed any symptom of 
being affected before I directed my attention towards them. After that 
[sic] they were made acquainted with the experiment, I found their 
imagination sometimes supplied the place of my will, and they fancied 
I was experimenting upon them when I was not so. This we so often 
see in other cases." 

Muscular and tactile hallucinations are, of course, eminently of a 
sort which may be produced by expectancy ; and all that can be said 
is that Mr. Thompson seems to have been alive to this danger. I may 
perhaps be allowed to state of this gentleman that, as far as we are aware 
(and we have questioned both a near relative of his and a bitter detractor), 
it was never alleged that he was an untrustworthy witness, or prone to 
exaggerate his powers. 

The impression in the next example seems to have been on the border- 
land between sensation and idea. It is given by the Rev. L. Lewis in the 
paper referred to above {Zoist, vol. v.). His son had resolved to test 
the statement that in a mesmeric state a " subject " might, by the opera- 
tor's unexpressed will, be impressed v/ith delusions such as are usually 
only produced by direct suggestion. 

(i i) " The girl [one whom he had often hypnotised] being gone into the 
sleep, the first thing that occurred to him was that she should imagine 
herself a camphine lamp, which was then burning on the table. He wrote 
down the words, which were not uttered by anyone, and were handed to 
the company. Then, without speaking, he strongly willed that she should 
be a lamp, making over her head the usual magnetic passes. E. C. was in 
a few minutes perfectly immovable, and not a word could be elicited from 
her. When she had continued in this strange state for some time, he 
dissipated the illusion by his will, without awaking her, when she im- 
mediately found her tongue again, and on being asked how she had felt 
when she would not speak, she replied, ' Very hot, and full of naphtha.' " 

The next case (contained in a letter from Mr. H. S. Thompson to 
Dr. Elliotson, Zoist, vol. v., p. 257) takes us a little further, for the agent 
and percipient were at a considerable distance from one another ; and 
though the experience was of a vague sort, very much more was pro- 
duced than a mere idea — namely, a physical impression of the agent's 
presence, strong enough to be described as felf. 

(12) "I have tried several experiments on persons not in the mesmeric 
state, and some who had never been mesmerised. I have repeatedlj' found 
that I had been able, by will, to suggest a series of ideas to some persons, 
which ideas have induced corresponding actions ; and again, by fixing my 
attention upon others, and thinking on some particular subject, I have 
often found them able most accurate^ to penetrate my thoughts. Neither 
have I observed that it was always necessary to be near them, or to be in 


the same room with them, to produce these effects. . . . Some months 
ago I was staying at a friend's house, and this subject came under discus- 
sion. Two friends had left the house the day before.^ Neither of them, 
that I am aware of, had ever been in the mesmeric state ; but I knew 
that to some extent they had this faculty. I proposed to make trial 
whether I could will them to think I was coming to see them at that 
moment. I accordingly fixed my attention upon them for some little time. 
Six weeks elapsed before I saw either of them again ; and v/hen we met I 
had forgotten the circumstance, but one of them soon reminded me of it 
by saying, ' I have something curious to tell you, and want also to know 
whether you have ever tried to practise your power of volition upon either 
of us ; for on the evening of the day I left the house where you were 

staying, I was sitting reading a book in the same room with Mr. . 

My attention was withdrawn from my book, and for some moments I felt 
as though a third person was in the room, and that feeling shortly after 
became connected with an idea that you were coming or even then present. 
This seemed so very absurd that I tried to banish the idea from my mind. 

I then observed that Mr. 's attention was also drawn from the book 

which he was reading, and he exclaimed, ' It is positively very ridiculous, 
but I could have sworn some third person was in the room, and that 
impression is connected with an idea of Henry Thompson.' " 

§ 7. But the most pronounced cases are of course those where an 
actual affection of vision is produced. Here previous observations of 
an authentic sort almost v^^holly fail us. I have no wish to extenuate 
the negative importance of this fact. At the same time, it must be re- 
membered how very exceptional, probably, are the occasions on which the 
experiment has been attempted. When the two persons concerned in 
a " willing " experiment have been together, the object, as a rule, has 
been to produce the effect which shall present the most obvious test for 
spectators or for the agent himself — namely, motor effects. And when 
some one of the few persons who possess an appreciable -degree of the 
abnormal power has attempted to exercise it at a distance, it is still the 
production of actions that he would most naturally aim at ; for it is in 
this direction that such a power has been popularly expected to show 
itself. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that deliberate attempts to 
produce a visual hallucination in another person, by the exercise of the 
will, have been very few and far between. Still this is, of course, no 
complete explanation of the rarity of the phenomenon ; for no definable 
line separates these rare attempts from the ordinary experiments in 
thought-transference, when the agent concentrates his attention on a 
visible object. In those experiments there is, so to speak, an opportunity 
for a visual hallucination, if the agent is able to produce one. But the 
percipient has never (as far as I know) received more than a vivid idea, 
or at most a picture of the object in the mind's eye. And this fact suffi- 
ciently indicates that the more pronounced sensory result is one requiring 
most special conditions — one which would remain extremely rare however 
much it were sought for, and the proof of which will rightly be regarded 
with all the more jealous scrutiny. 

1 It seems practically certain, from what follows, that by " the day before " Mr. 
Thompson meant " earlier in the day." Otherwise the case would have had no 
relation to what he is speaking of. 


The previous records of the phenomenon to which I can point are 
really only four in number ; and these are [for the most part] so far from 
conclusive, that they would hardly even be worth mentioning, if stronger 
examples could not be added from our own collection. The first case is 
thus meagrely described by Dr. Elliotson {Zoist, \o\. viii., p. 69) : — 

" I have a friend, who can, by his will, make certain patients think of 
any others he chooses, and fancy he sees those persons : he silently think- 
ing of certain persons, the brain of the patient sympathises with his 
brain. Nay, by silently willing that these persons shall say and do certain 
things which he chooses, he makes the patients believe they see these 
imaginary appearances doing and uttering those very things." 

That a man of indisputable ability should have thought such a state- 
ment of such a fact adequate is truly extraordinary. The same may 
be said of the following sentence of Dr. Charpignon's Physiologie du 
Magnetisme (Paris, 1848), p. 325 : — 

" Nous avons maintes fois forme dans notre pensee des images fictives, 
at les somnambules que nous questionnions voyaient ces images comme des 

Even if these descriptions be accurate in the main, we are unable 
to judge how far the vision was really externalised by the patients. In 
the next case this point is clear ; but the distinct assurance is still lacking 
that the agent was on his guard against the slightest approach to a sug- 
gestive movement. The incident is cited in the Annates Medico-Psycho- 
logiques, 6th series, vol. v., p. 379, by Dr. Dagonet, doctor at the Saint 
Anne Asylum. 

" Un interne [house-physician] lui dit : ' Regardez done, Didier, voila 
une jolie femme.' II n'y avait personne. Didier reprit : ' Mais non, elle est 
laide,' et il ajoute : ' Qu'a-t-elle dans les bras ? ' Ces questions se rap- 
portaient exactement a ce que pensait son interlocuteur. A un certain 
moment Didier se precipita meme pour empecher de tomber I'enfant qu'il 
croyait voir dans les bras de la femme imaginaire dont on lui parlait." 

This is a specimen of the stray indications of thought-transference 
that may be found even in strictly scientific literature ; but the signifi- 
cance of the phenomenon seems to have been altogether missed. 'It is 
described among a number of observations of an ordinary kind, made 
on an habitual somnambulist, and as though it were quite on a par with 
the rest. 

The next account, though like Dr. Charpignon's first-hand from the 
agent, is more remote, and [as Gurney knew it, was equally uncorrobor- 
ated. He quotes it from an article by H. M. Wesermann in the Archiv 
fur den Thierischen Magnetismus, vol. vi., pp. 136-9, dated Diisseldorf, 
June 15, 1819 ; but it seems better to substitute here what is practically 
the same account of the experiments with the addition of first-hand 
testimony by one of the percipients. It is translated from pp. 26-30 
of a book, which Gurney had apparently not seen, entitled Der Magne- 


tismus imd die Allgemeine Weltsprache, published in 1822 by the same 
author, H. M. Wesermann, Government Assessor, and Chief Inspector 
of Roads at Dusseldorf, and a member of the Batavian Society for Ex- 
perimental Philosophy at Rotterdam and of scientific societies at Jena, 
Bonn, and Diisseldorf . Wesermann was trying to transfer mental images 
to sleeping friends at a distance, and the first four items are of this nature, 
but the fifth is a waking and completely externaUsed hallucination. 

" First Experiment at a Distance of Five Miles (Meilen). — I endeavoured 
to acquaint my friend, the Hofkammerrath G., whom I had not seen nor 
written to for thirteen years, with the fact of my intended visit, by 
presenting my form to him in his sleep, through the force of my will. 
When I unexpectedly went to him on the following evening, he evinced 
his astonishment at having seen me in a dream on the preceding night. 

" Second Experiment at a Distance of Three Miles. — ^IMadame W., in 
her sleep, was to hear a conversation between me and two other persons, 
relating to a certain secret ; and when I visited her on the third day she 
told me all that had been said, and showed her astonishment at this 
remarkable dream. 

" Third Experiment at a Distance of O^ie Mile. — An aged person in G. 
was to see in a dream the funeral procession of my deceased friend S., and 
when I visited her on the next day her first words were that she had in 
her sleep seen a funeral procession, and on inquiry had learned that I was 
the corpse. Here then was a slight error. 

" Fourth Experiment at a Distance of One-Eighth of a Mile. — Herr 
Doctor B. desired a trial to convince him, whereupon I represented to him 
a nocturnal street -brawl. He saw it in a dream, to his great astonishment. 
[This means, presumably, that he was astonished when he found that the 
actual subject of his dream was what Wesermann had been endeavouring 
to impress on him.] 

" Fifth Experiment at a Distance of Nine Miles. — A lady, who had been 

dead five years, was to appear to Lieutenant n in a dream at 10.30 p.m. 

and incite him to a good deed. At half-past ten, however, contrary to 
expectation, Herr — — n had not gone to bed, but was discussing the 

French campaign with his friend Lieutenant S in the ante-room. 

Suddenly the door of the room opened, the lady entered dressed in white, 

with a black kerchief and uncovered head, greeted S with her hand 

three times in a friendly manner ; then turned to n, nodded to him, 

and returned again through the doorAvay. 

" As this story, related to me by Lieutenant n, seemed to be 

too remarkable from a psychological point of view for the truth of it 

not to be duly established, I wrote to Lieutenant S , who was living 

six miles away, and asked him to give me his account of it. He sent me 

the following reply: ' . . . On the 13th of March, 1817, Herr n 

came to pay me a visit at my lodgings about a league from A . He 

stayed the night with me. After supper, and when we were both un- 
dressed, I was sitting on my bed and Herr n was standing by the 

door of the next room on the point also of going to bed. This was about 
half -past ten. We were speaking partly about indifferent subjects and 
partly about the events of the French campaign. Suddenly the door out 
of the kitchen opened without a sound, and a lady entered, very pale, 

taller than Herr n, about five feet four inches in height, strong and 

broad of figure, dressed in white, but with a large black kerchief which 
reached to below the waist. She entered with bare head, greeted me with 


the hand three times in complimentary fashion, turned round to the left 

towards Herr n, and waved her hand to him three times ; after which 

the figure quietly, and again without any creaking of the door, went out. 
We followed at once in order to discover whether there was any deception, 
but found nothing. The strangest thing was this, that our night watch 
of two men whom I had shortly before found on the watch were now 
asleep, though at mj' first call they were on the alert, and that the door of 
the room, which always opens with a good deal of noise, did not make the 
slightest sound when opened by the figure. S. 

" ' D n, January nth, 1818.' "^j 

There is, fortunately, no necessity for dwelling on these [old] cases, as 
the possibility^ of the alleged phenomenon will certainly not be admitted 
except on the strength of contemporary and corroborated instances. 

§ 8. In the examples that I am about to quote, one grave defect 
must at once be admitted. Though in all of them testimony is given 
by both agent and percipient [in all either agent or percipient], withhold 
their names from publication. We, of course, regret this restriction 
exceedingly ; but it can hardly be deemed iinnatural or unreasonable. 
It must be remembered that these cases of apparitions intentionally 
produced stand in a most peculiar position, as compared even with the 
other remarkable incidents with which we are concerned in the present 
work. In the case of the more normal telepathic phantasm, neither party 
is in the least responsible for what occurs. A dies or breaks his leg; 
B thinks that he sees A's form or hears his voice : neither can help it ; 
if their experiences coincide, that is not their business ; perhaps it is a 
chance. But in the present class of cases, the agent determines to do 
something that to most of his educated fellow-creatures will appear a 
miracle ; and however little he himself may share that view, he ma}^ still 
have good grounds for shrinking from the reputation either of a miracle- 
worker or of a miracle-monger. The percipient's position is somewhat 
different ; but modern miracles are by no means tempting things to get 
publicly mixed up with, even for a person vv^hose share in them has been 
passive. And the extreme rarity of the phenomenon is another daunting 
fact. For a single specimen of this deliberate type of phantasm, we have 
a hundred specimens of the wholly spontaneous type : and the witness 
who is willing to give his name for publication, where he is assured that 
he will find himself in numerous and respectable company, may fairly 
hesitate when aware that the incident he records is almost unexampled. 

However, it may be hoped that this difficulty, like others, will 
gradually be removed by a modification of public opinion on the whole 
subject. Meanwhile, I can but give the evidence under the conditions im- 
posed. In the first case, the agent is slightly known to us. The per- 
cipient is our friend, the Rev. W. Stainton Moses, who believes that he 
has kept a written memorandum of the incident, but has been prevented 
by a long illness, and by pressure of work, from hunting for it among a 
large mass of stored-away papers. The agent's account was written 

1 Other cases of the hallucination of a door opening or shutting are Nos. 15,30, 
190, etc. 


in February, 1879, and includes a few purely verbal alterations made in 
1883, when Mr. Moses pronounced it correct. 

(t3) " One evening early last year, I resolved to try to appear to Z, at 
some miles distance. I did not inform him beforehand of the intended 
experiment ; but retired to rest shortly before midnight with thoughts 
intently fixed on Z, with whose room and surroundings, however, I was 
quite unacquainted. I soon fell asleep, and awoke next morning un- 
conscious of anything having taken place. On seeing Z a few days 
afterwards, I inquired, ' Did anything happen at your rooms on Saturday 
night ? ' ' Yes,' replied he, ' a great deal happened. I had been sitting 
over the fire with M, smoking and chatting. About 12.30 he rose to 
leave, and I let him out myself. I returned to the fire to finish my pipe, 
when I saw 5^ou sitting in the chair just vacated by him. I looked 
intently at you, and then took up a newspaper to assure myself I was not 
dreaming, but on laying it down I saw you still there. While I gazed 
without speaking, you faded away. Though I imagined 3^ou must be fast 
asleep in bed at that hour, j^et you appeared dressed in j^our ordinary 
garments, such as you usually wear every da3^' ' Then my experiment 
seems to have succeeded,' said I. ' The next time I come, ask me what 
I want, as I had fixed on my mind certain questions I intended to ask you, 
but I was probably waiting for an invitation to speak.' 

" A few weeks later the experiment was repeated with equal success. 
I, as before, not informing Z when" it was made. On this occasion he 
not only questioned me on the subject which was at that time under very 
warm discussion between us, but detained me by the exercise of his will 
some time after I had inlimated a desire to leave. ^ This fact, when it 
came to be communicated to me, seemed to account for the violent and 
somewhat peculiar headache which marked the morning following the 
experiment ; at least I remarked at the time that there was no apparent 
cause for the unusual headache ; and, as on the former occasion, no 
recollection remained of the event, or seeming event, of the preceding 

Mr. Moses writes : — 

" 21, Birchington Road, N.W. 

" September 27th, 1885. 
" This account is, as far as my memory serves, exact ; and, without 
notes before me, I cannot supplement it. W. Stainton Moses." 

Mr. Moses tells us that he has never on any other occasion seen the 
figure of a living person in a place where it was not. 

The next case, otherwise similar, was more remarkable in that there 
were two percipients. The narrative has been copied by the present 
writer from a MS. book of Mr. S. H. B.'s, to which he transferred it from 
an almanack diary, since lost. 

(14) " On a certain Sunday evening in November, 1881, having been 
reading of the great power which the human will is capable of exercising, 
I determined with the whole force of my being that I would be present 

^ As regards the interchange of remarks with a hallucinatory figure, see below, 
p. 476. But it is possible, of course, that this detail as to the prolonging of the 
interview has become magnified in memory ; or that the second vision partook 
more of the nature of a dream than the first. 


in spirit in the front bedroom on the second floor of a house situated 
at 22, Hogarth Road, Kensington, in which room slept two ladies of 
my acquaintance, viz.. Miss L. S. V. and Miss E. C. V., aged respectively 
25 and II years. I was living at this time at 23, Kildare Gardens, a 
distance of about 3 miles from Hogarth Road, and I had not mentioned 
in any way my intention of trying this experiment to either of the 
above ladies, for the simple reason that it was only on retiring to rest 
upon this Sunday night that I made up my mind to do so. The time at 
which I determined I would be there was i o'clock in the morning, and I 
also had a strong intention of making my presence perceptible. 

" On the following Thursday I went to see the ladies in question, and, 
in the course of conversation (without any allusion to the subject on my 
part), the elder one told me, that, on the previous Sunday night, she had 
been much terrified b};- perceiving me standing by her bedside, and that 
she screamed when the apparition advanced towards her, and awoke her 
little sister, who saw me also. 

" I asked her if she was awake at the time, and she replied most 
decidedly in the affirmative, and upon my inquiring the time of the 
occurrence, she replied, about i o'clock in the morning. 

" This lady, at my request, wrote down a statement of the event and 
signed it. 

" Tliis was the first occasion upon which I tried an experiment of this 
kind, and its complete success startled me very much. 

" Besides exercising my power of volition very strongly, I put forth 
an effort which I cannot find words to describe. I was conscious of a 
mysterious influence of some sort permeating in my body, and had a 
distinct impression that I was exercising some force with which I had 
been hitherto unacquainted, but which I can now at certain times set in 
motion at will. S, H. B." 

[Of the original entry in the almanack diar5^ Mr. B. says : "I recollect 
having made it within a week or so of the occurrence of the experiment, 
and whilst it was perfectly fresh in my memory."] 

Miss Verity's account is as follows :- — 

" January i8th, 1883. 

" On a certain Sunday evening, about twelve months since, at our house 
in Hogarth Road, Kensington, I distinctly saw Mr. B. in my room, about 
I o'clock. I was perfectly awake and was much terrified. I awoke my 
sister by screaming, and she saw the apparition herself. Three days after, 
when I saw Mr. B., I told him what had happened ; but it was some time 
before I could recover from the shock I had received, and the remembrance 
is too vivid to be ever erased from my memory. L. S. Verity." 

In answer to inquiries Miss Verity adds : — 

" I had never had any hallucination of the senses of an}' sort what- 

Miss E. C. Verit}' says : — 

" I remember the occurrence of the event described by ray sister in the 
annexed paragraph, and her description is quite correct. I saw the 
apparition which she saw, at the same time and under the same circum- 
stances. E. C. Verity." 


Miss A. S. Verity saj^s : — 

" I remember quite clearly the evening my eldest sister awoke me by 
calling to me from an adjoining room ; and upon my going to her bedside, 
where she slept with my youngest sister, they both told me they had seen 
S. H. B. standing in the room. The time was about i o'clock. S. H. B. 
was in evening dress, they told me.^ A. S. Verity." 

[Miss E, C. Verity was asleep when her sister caught sight of the 
figure, and was awoke by her sister's exclaiming, " There is S." The name 
had therefore met her ear before she herself saw the figure ; and the 
hallucination on her part might thus be attributed to suggestion. But it is 
against this view that she has never had any other hallucination, and 
cannot therefore be considered as predisposed to such experiences. The 
sisters are both equally certain that the figure was in evening dress, and 
that it stood in one particular spot in the room. The gas was burning low, 
and the phantasmal figure was seen with far more clearness than a real 
figure would have been. 

The witnesses have been very carefully cross-examined by the present 
writer. There is not the slightest doubt that their mention of the occurrence 
to S. H. B. was spontaneous. They had not at first intended to mention 
it ; but when they saw him, their sense of its oddness overcame their 
resolution. I have already said that I regard Miss Verity as a careful 
and conscientious witness ; I may add that she has no love of marvels, 
and has a considerable dread and dislike of this particular form of marvel.] 

The next case of Mr. S. H. B.'s is different in this respect, that the 
percipient was not consciously present to the agent's mind on the night 
that he made his attempt. The account is copied from the MS. book 
mentioned above. 

(15) " On Friday, December ist, 1882, at 9.30 p.m., I went into a room 
alone and sat by the fireside, and endeavoured so strongly to fix my mind 
upon the interior of a house at Kew (viz., Clarence Road), in which 
resided Miss V. and her two sisters, that I seemed to be actually in the 
house. During this experiment I must have fallen into a mesmeric sleep, 
for although I was conscious I could not move my limbs. I did not seem 
to have lost the power of moving them, but I could not make the effort to 
do so, and my hands, which lay loosely on my knees, about 6 inches apart, 
felt involuntarily drawn together and seemed to meet, although I was 
conscious that they did not move. 

" At 10 p.m. I regained my normal state by an effort of the will, and 
then took a pencil and wrote down on a sheet of note-paper the foregoing 

" WTien I went to bed on this same night, I determined that I would 
be in the front bedroom of the above-mentioned house at 12 p.m., and 
remain there until I had made my spiritual presence perceptible to the 
inmates of that room. 

" On the next day, Saturday, I went to Kew to spend the evening, 
and met there a married sister of Miss V. (viz., Mrs. L.). This lady I had 
only met once before, and then it was at a ball two years previous to the 
above date. We were both in fancy dress at the time, and as we did not 
exchange more than half-a-dozen words, this ladj^ would naturally have 
lost any vivid recollection of my appearance, even if she had remarked it, 

^ Mr. B. does not remember how he was dressed on the nii^ht of the occurrence. 


" In the course of conversation (although I did not think for a moment 
of asking her any questions on such a subject), she told me that on the 
previous night she had seen me distinctly upon two occasions. She 
had spent the night at Clarence Road, and had slept in the front bed- 
room. At about half-past 9 she had seen me in the passage, going from 
one room to another, and at 12 p.m., when she was wide awake, she had 
seen me enter the bedroom and walk round to where she was sleeping, 
and take her hair (which is very long) into m^' hand. She also told me 
that the apparition took hold of her hand and gazed intently into it, 
whereupon she spoke, saying, ' You need not look at the lines, for I have 
never had any trouble.' She then awoke her sister. Miss V., who was 
sleeping with her, and told her about it. After hearing this account, I 
took the statement which I had written down on the previous evening, 
from my pocket, and showed it to some of the persons present, who were 
much astonished although incredulous. 

" I asked Mrs. L. if she was not dreaming at the time of the latter 
experience, but this she stoutly denied, and stated that she had forgotten 
what I was like, but seeing me so distinctly she recognised me at once. 

" Mrs. L. is a lady of highly imaginative temperament, and told me that 
she had been subject, since childhood, to ps^^chological fancies,^ &c., but 
the wonderful coincidence of the time (which was exact) convinced me 
that what she told me was more than a flight of the imagination. At my 
request she wrote a brief account of her impressions and signed it. 

" S. H. B." 

[Mr. B. was at Southall when he made this trial. He tells me that the 
above account was written down about ten days after the experiment, 
and that it embodies the entry made in his rough diary on the night of 
the trial.] 

The following is the lady's statement, which was forwarded to Mr. B., 
he tells us, " within a few v/eeks of the occurrence." 

" 8, Wordsworth Road, Harrow. 
" On Friday, December ist, 1882, I was on a visit to my sister, 21, 
Clarence Road, Kew, and about 9.30 p.m. I was going from my bedroom to 
get some water from the bathroom, when I distinctly saw Mr. S. B., whom 
I had only seen once before, about two years ago, walk before me past the 
bathroom, towards the bedroom at the end of the landing. About 11 
o'clock we retired for the night, and about 12 o'clock I was still awake, 
and the door opened ^ and Mr. S. B. came into the room and walked round 
to the bedside, and there stood with one foot on the ground and the 
other knee resting on a chair. He then took mj^ hair into his hand, 
after which he took my hand in his, and looked ver}:' intently into the 
palm. ' Ah,' I said (speaking to him), ' you need not look at the lines, 
for I never had any trouble.' I then awoke my sister ; I was not nervous, 
but excited, and began to fear some serious illness would befall her, she 
being delicate at the time, but she is progressing more favourably now. 

" H. L." [Full name signed.] 

^ Asked to explain this phrase, Mr. B. says : "I have never heard of Mrs. L. 
having had any Imllucinaiions. The fancies I alluded to were simply a few phenonaena 
accounted for on the ground of ' telepathic ' rap-port between herself and Mr. L., 
such as having a distinct impression that he was coming home unexpectedly (whilst 
absent in the North of England), and finding on several occasions that the impressions 
were quite correct." 

' See p. 82, note ; see also p. 92. __ 


Miss Verity corroborates as follows : — 

" I can remember quite well Mrs. L.'s mentioning her two visions — one 
at 9.30 and one at 12 — at the time, and before S. H. B. came. When he 
came, my sister told him, and immediately he took a card (or paper, I 
forget which) out of his pocket, containing an account of the previous 
evening. I consider this testimony quite as good as if Mrs. L. were giving 
it, because I can recall so well these two days. 

" My sister has told me that she never experienced any hallucination 
of the senses except on this occasion. L. S. Verity." 

The present writer requested Mr. B. to send him a note on the night 
that he intended to make his next experiment of the kind, and received 
the following note by the first post on Monday, March 24th, 1884. 

" March 22nd, 1884. 
(16) " Dear Mr. Gurney, — I am going to try the experiment to-night 
of making my presence perceptible at 44, Norland Square, at 12 p.m. I 
will let you know the result in a few days. — Yours very sincerely, 

" S. H. B." 

The next letter was received in the course of the following week : — 

" April 3rd, 1884. 

" Dear Mr. Gurney, — I have a strange statement to show you, 
respecting my experiment, which was tried at your suggestion, and under 
the test conditions which you imposed. 

' ' Having quite forgotten which night it was on which I attempted the 
projection, I cannot say whether the result is a brilliant success, or only a 
slight one, until I see the letter which I posted you on the evening of the 

" Having sent you that letter, I did not deem it necessary to m.ake a 
note in my diary, and consequently have let the exact date slip my 

" If the dates correspond, the success is complete in every detail, and 
I have an account signed and v/itnessed to show you. 

" I saw the lady (who was the subject) for the first time last night, 
since the experiment, and she made a voluntary statement to me, which 
I wrote down at her dictation, and to which she has attached her signa- 
ture. The date and time of the apparition are specified in this statement, 
and it will be for you to decide whether they are identical with those 
given in my letter to you. I have completely forgotten, but yet I fancy 
that they are the same. S. H. B." 

This is the statement : — 

" 44, Norland Square, W. 

" On Saturday night, March 22nd, 1884, at about midnight, I had a 
distinct impression that Mr. S. H. B. was present in my room, and I 
distinctly saw him whilst I was quite widely awake. He came towards 
me, and stroked my hair. I voluntarily gave him this information, when 
he called to see me on Wednesday, April 2nd, telling him the time and 
the circumstances of the apparition, without any suggestion on his part. 
The appearance in my room was most vivid, and quite unmistakable. 

" L. S. Verity." 


Miss A. S. Verity corroborates as follows : — 

" I remember my sister telling me that she had seen S. H. B., and that 
he had touched her hair, before he came to see us on April 2nd. A. S. V." 

Mr. B.'s own account is as follows : — 

" On Saturday, March 22nd, I determined to make my presence percep- 
tible to Miss v., at 44, Norland Square, Notting Hill, at 12 midnight, 
and as I had previously arranged with Mr. Gurney that I should post him 
a letter on the evening on which I tried my experiment (stating the 
time and other particulars), I sent a note to acquaint him with the above 

" About ten days afterwards I called upon Miss V., and she voluntarily 
told me, that on March 22nd, at 12 o'clock midnight, she had seen me so 
vividly in her room (whilst widely awake) that her nerves had been much 
shaken, and she had been obliged to send for a doctor in the morning. 

" S. H. B." 

[Unfortunately Mr. B.'s intention to produce the impression of touch- 
ing the percipient's hair is not included in his written account. On 
August 2 1 st, 1885, he wrote to me, " I remember that I had this intention " ; 
and I myself remember that, very soon after the occurrence, he mentioned 
this as one of the points which made the success " complete in every 
detail " ; and that I recommended him in any future trial to endeavour 
instead to produce the impression of some spoken phrase.] 

It will be observed that in all these instances the conditions were 
the same — the agent concentrating his thoughts on the object in view 
before going to sleep. Mr. B. has never succeeded in producing a similar 
effect when he has been awake. And this restriction as to time has made 
it difficult to devise a plan by which the phenomenon could be tested 
by independent observers, one of whom might arrange to be in the com- 
pany of the agent at a given time, and the other in that of the percipient. 
Nor is it easy to press for repetitions of the experiment, which is not 
an agreeable one to the percipient, and is followed by a considerable 
amount of nervous prostration. Moreover, if trials were frequently 
made with the same percipient, the value of success would diminish ; 
for any latent expectation on the recipient's part might be argued to 
be itself productive of the delusion, and the coincidence with the agent's 
resolve might be explained as accidental. We have, of course, requested 
Mr. B. to try to produce the effect on ourselves ; but though he has more 
than once made the attempt, it has not succeeded. We can therefore 
only wait, in the hope that time will bring fresh opportunities, and that 
other persons may be induced to make the trial. ^ 

The following [similar case was received after publication of the 
book, and was inserted in "Additions and Corrections" in later issues. 
It adds to its interest that it was] directly due to the publication of this 

' ^ Since this was written two further cases have been received — Nos. 685 and 686 
in the Additional Chapter at the end of vol. ii. [No. 685 has, however, since broken 
down (see Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiv., p. 114), and No. 686 being rather remote, 
is not reproduced in the present edition. It is, however, interesting as the agent 
Avas awake and in a normal state. — Ed.] 


book. The receipt of it justifies us in hoping that we may encounter 
more like it. On November i6th, 1886, the Rev. C. Godfrey, of 5, The 
Goffs, Eastbourne, wrote to Mr. Podmore as follows :— 

" I was so impressed by the account on p. 105, that I determined to 
put the matter to an experiment. 

" Retiring at 10.45, I determined to appear, if possible, to [a friend], 
and accordingly I set myself to work, with all the volitional and deter- 
minative energy which I possess, to stand at the foot of her bed. I need not 
say that I never dropped the slightest hint beforehand as to my intention, 
such as would mar the experiment, nor had I mentioned the subject to her. 
As the ' agent,' I may describe my own experiences. 

" Undoubtedly the imaginative faculty was brought extensively into 
play, as well as the volitional ; for I endeavoured to translate myself, 
spiritually, into the room, and to attract her attention, as it were, while 
standing there. My effort was sustained for perhaps 8 minutes, after 
which I felt tired, and was soon asleep. 

" The next thing I was conscious of was meeting the lady next morning, 
(i.e., in a dream, I suppose ?) and asking her at once if she had seen me 
last night. The reply came ' Yes.' ' How ? ' I inquired. Then in words 
strangely clear and low, like a well-audible whisper, came the answer, 
' I was sitting beside you.' These words, so clear, awoke me instantly, 
and I felt I must have been dreaming ; but on reflection, I remembered 
what I had been ' willing ' before I fell asleep ; and it struck me, ' This 
must be a reflex action from the percipient.' 

" My watch showed 3.40 a.m. The following is what I wrote im- 
mediately in pencil, standing in my night-dress :— ' As I reflected upon 
those clear words, they struck me as being quite intuitive — I mean subjec- 
tive, and to have proceeded /:?'(9W within, as my own conviction, rather than 
a communication from anyone else.^ And yet I can't remember her face 
at all, as one can after a vivid dream ! ' 

" But the words were uttered in a clear, quick tone, which was most 
remarkable, and awoke me at once. 

" My friend, in the note with which she sent me the enclosed account of 
her own experience, says : ' I remember the man put all the lamps out 
soon after I came upstairs, and that is only done about a quarter to 4.' " 

Mr. Godfrey went next morning to see someone who resided in the 

same house as Mrs. , and was leaving, when " she called out to me 

from the window that she had something special to tell me ; but being 
very busy, I could not return again into the house, and replied to the 
effect that it would keep. I am not quite certain now^ whether it was on 

^ At first sight, this seems mconsistent with the idea of the '• reliex "or reciprocal 
action in the precedmg paragraph. But Mr. Godfrey explains what he means as 
follows : "I was dreaming : reflection convinced me that the particular words were 
not uttered in course of natural dream, but by reflex [reciprocal] action : also that 
they proceeded from myself, and not from any one standing over my bed in tlie room. 
It was ' from any one else ' that confused my meaning. I meant any one in the room, 
not any one in another house : from her they clearly did proceed." There does not 
seem, however, to be any such proof of reciprocal action as Mr. Godfrey supposes ; 
no reason appears why his dream should not have been purely subjective. 

* The letter here quoted was written to me on Jan. 13, 1887. Mr. Podmore says 

that it entirely accords with Mr. Godfrey's and Mrs. 's independent viva voce 

accounts given on the previous Nov. 22. The reason why these details were not 

included in Mr. Podmore' s notes was that at the moment he was under the impression 

■ that thcj- had been mentioned in Mr. Godfrey's first letter, which was in n)y possession. 


the afternoon of tUe same day, or later in the morning, that she called. I 
asked her, as iisual [for she suffered from neuralgia], if she had had a 
good night, and she at once commenced to narrate as I have told you. 
When she had told me all, I begged her at once to go home and write it 
down. The account which I sent to you was the result ; and it compared 
accurately with a few scribbled notes in pencil which I had hastily jot'ted 
down as she was relating it to me originally." 

The following is the percipient's account : — 

" Yesterday, viz., the morning of Nov. i6, 1886, about half-past 
3 o'clock, I woke up with a start, and an idea that someone had come into 
the room. I also heard a curious sound, but fancied it might be the birds 
in the ivy outside. Next I experienced a strange, restless longing to leave 
the room and go downstairs. This feeling became so overpowering that 
at last I rose, and lit a candle; and went down, thinking if I could get some 
soda-water it might have a qiiieting effect. On returning to my room, 
I saw Mr. Godfrey standing under the large window on the staircase. He 
was dressed in his usual style, and with an expression on his face that I 
have noticed when he has been looking very earnestly at an^^thing. He 
stood there, and I held up the candle and gazed at him for 3 or 4 seconds 
in utter amazement ; and then, as I passed up the staircase, he disappeared. 
The impression left on my mind was so vivid that I fully intended waking 
a friend who occupied the same room as myself ; but remembering I 
should only be laughed at as romantic and imaginative, refrained from 
doing so. 

" I was not frightened at the appearance of Mr. Godfrey, but felt much 
excited and could not sleep afterwards." 

In conversation with Mrs. (Nov. 22, 1886), Mr. Podmore learnt 

that she is a good sleeper, and not given to waking at nights. She does not 
remember ever before having experienced anything like the feeling which 
she had on first waking vip. She v/as at the bottom of the stairs when she 
saw Mr. Godfrey's figure, which appeared on the landing, about 1 1 steps up. 
It was quite distinct and life-like at first, — though she does not remember 
noticing more than the upper part of the body ; as she looked, it grew more 
and more shadowy, and finally faded away. It must be added that she has 
seen in her life two other phantasmal appearances, which represented a 
parent whom she had recently lost. But a couple of experiences of this 
sort, coming at a time of emotional strain, cannot be regarded as a sign of 
any abnormal liability to subjective hallucinations (see p. 330) ; and even 
if she was destined an^drow to experience one other, the chances against 
its representing one particular member of her acquaintance, at the very 
time when he happened for the first time in his life to be making the effort 
above described, would be at least many hundreds of thousands to i. 

We requested Mr. Godfrey to make another trial, without of course 

giving Mrs. any reason to expect that he would do so. He made a 

trial at once, thinking that we wanted the result immediately, though 
he himself thought the time unsuitable ; and this was a failure. But on 
Dec. 8, 1886, he wrote as follows : — 

" My friend Mrs. has just been in, and given me an account of 

what she experienced last night ; she is gone home to write it out for you, 
and it will be enclosed with mine. I can state that I have not attempted 
one experiment since I last communicated with you ; therefore there are 

no failures to record. I was at Mrs. 's house last evening, and she 

testifies this morning that she had not the faintest suspicion that I intended 


attempting another experiment. The firsi words she used on seeing me 
this morning were (laughingly), ' Well, I saw you last night, anyway.' 

" All the interest, as on the former occasion, of course lies with the per- 
cipient. I may simply explain that I acted as on the former occasion — viz., 
concentrated my attention on the percipient, while I was undressing ; then 
devoted some 10 minutes, when in bed, to intense effort to transport myself 
to her presence, and make my presence felt both by voice and touch, — viz., 
placing my hand upon the percipient's head. Then I fell asleep, slept 
well, and was conscious of nothing sufficiently vivid to aivake me. 

" Directly I awoke at my usual time, about 6.40 a.m., I guessed that I 
had succeeded, because I instantly remembered that I had dreamt (as last 
time) of meeting the lady next day, and asking her the same question — viz., 
whether she had seen me, and the answer was, ' Yes, I saw you indis- 
tinctly.' This reflex action is very important, and I would undertake to 
tell, on any occasion, whether I had failed or succeeded. The words of 
reply (above) were written down by me on paper^ before hearing the 
percipient's account. 

" This case is, I think, very instructive, because of the sound of voice, 
as well as of sight." 

Mr. Godfrey adds that Mrs. , though she a.ppeared in good spirits, 

had been " frightened and a little unnerved " ; and that he should not 
feel justified in repeating the experiment. 

The percipient's account, written on December 8th, 1886, is as 
follows : — 

" Last night, Tuesday, Dec. 7th, I went upstairs at half-past 10. 
I remember distinctly locking the bedroom door, which this morning, to 
my astonishment, was unlocked. I was soon asleep, and had a strange 
dream of taking flowers to a grave. Suddenly I heard a voice say ' Wake,' 
and felt a hand rest on the left side of my head. (I was lying on the right 
side.) I was wide awake in a second, and heard a curious sound in the 
room, something like a Jew's harp. I felt a cold breath streaming over 
me, and violent palpitation of the heart came on ; and I also distinctly 
saw a figure leaning over me. The only light in the room was from the 
lamp outside, which makes a long line on the wall over the wash-stand. 
This line was partly obscured by the figure. I turned round at once, and 
the hand seemed to slip from my head to the pillow beside me. The figure 
was stooping over me, and I felt it leaning up against the side of the bed. 
I saw the arm resting on the pillow the whole time it remained. I saw 
an outline of the face, but it seemed as if a mist were before it. I think 
the time when it came must have been about half-past 12. It had drawn 
the curtain of the bed slightly back, but this morning I noticed it was 
hanging straight as usual. The figure was undoubtedly that of Mr. 
Godfrey. I knew it by the appearance of the shoulders and the shape of 
the face. The whole time it remained, there was a draught of cold air 
streaming through the room, as if both door and window were open. I 
heard the dining-room clock strike half-past something ; and as I could 

1 As to this note, and the one made on the former occasion, Mr. Godfrey writes, 
" I am very sorry that I never kept the scraps of newspaper edge upon which I jotted 
down my reflections, and the words which reached me, in the middle of the night. 
I jotted them down to exclude any invalidation of the inferences on score of defective 
memory ; not thinking it needful to retain them as a check, when I had copied from 
them into my lettora, they were committed to the llames." 


not sleep again, but heard the clock strike hours and half-hours con- 
secutively up to 5 o'clock, I think I am right in saying the time was half- 
past 12." 

I have drawn attention (pp. 125-6, and p. 467) to the fact that the 
first-hand evidence for telepathic experiences includes no reports of 
physical changes produced in the material world — which, if they occurred, 
would be impossible to account for by the hypothesis of a temporary 
psychical transference from one mind to another. A percipient may 
have the hallucination of seeing the door opening (p. 82, note) ; but 
the door not having really been moved, it of course is not afterwards 
found open. So, in the above account, the curtain, which seemed to the 
percipient to be shifted at the time of her experience, was found in its 
place in the morning. On the other hand, the door, which she says that 
she had locked, was found unlocked. On being questioned as to this, she 
replies that the door is habitually locked at night, and that she does not 
walk in her sleep ; but she thinks it probable that, after locking the door, 
she left the room to get some matches, and that she omitted to lock it again 
on her return. If anyone, after this, should be inclined to connect the 
unlocking with the apparition, I would suggest to him that a " ghost " 
which has shown its capacity to walk through a closed hall-door would, on 
finding a bedroom door locked on the inside, be more likely to walk 
through it than to unlock it. 

§ 9. Even a reader who can sufficiently rely on our knowledge of the 
witnesses to feel that the evidence in these last-described cases is im- 
portant, may find an objection of another kind. He may question our right 
to make any theoretic connection between them and the experimental results 
before discussed. I have called the phenomena of the present chapter 
transitional, and have pointed out the way in which they form a bridge 
from the experimental thought-transference of the last chapter to the 
spontaneous telepathy that will occupy us for the future. But it may 
seem that the line of connection is after all only an external one ; and 
that there is a deep essential difference — a gulf which cannot be thus 
lightly crossed — between the more ordinary facts of thought-transference 
and these apparitions of the agent. It is not only that in the latter the 
percipient's impression has been of an external object — of something 
not merely flashed on the mind, but independently located in space : 
that might be a mere question of degree. The more radical difference 
is this — that what the one party perceived was not that on which the 
mind of the other party had been concentrated. In a " thought-trans- 
ference " experiment of the normal type, the percipient's image or idea 
of a card or diagram is due (as we hold) to the fact that the agent has 
been directing his attention to that very image or idea. But in the case 
of these will-produced phantasms, the agent has not been picturing his 
own visible aspect. So far as he has been thinking of himself at all, it 
has been not of his aspect particularly, but of his personality, and of his 
personality in relation to the percipient. It is thus probable that the per- 
cipient's aspect has formed a larger part of the agent's whole idea than 
his own ; yet it is his aspect, and nothing else, that is telepathically per- 
ceived. And a similar departure from the normal experimental type 
will meet us again in the large majority of the spontaneous telepathic 
cases. In some of these, the content of the agent's mind, at the time 


when the percipient received some sensory impression of him, has been 
a forcible idea of the percipient, and of himself in relation to the per- 
cipient ; in others, we shall find that even this bond was lacking, and that 
the percipient's impression cannot be even loosely identified with any 
part of the conscious contents of the agent's mind. 

These facts have, no doubt, a very real theoretic importance : they 
reveal a certain incompleteness in the transition which I have been en- 
deavouring to make. As long as the impression in the percipient's mind 
is merely a reproduction of that in the agent's mind, it is possible to 
conceive some sort of physical basis for the fact of the transference. 
The familiar phenomena of the transmission and reception of vibratory 
energy are ready to hand as analogies — the effect, for instance, of a 
swinging pendulum on another of equal length attached to the same 
solid support ; or of one tuning-fork or string on another of the same 
pitch ; or of glowing particles of a gas on cool molecules of the same 
substance. Still more tempting are the analogies of magnetic and elec- 
trical induction. A permanent magnet brought into a room will throw 
any surrounding iron into a similar condition ; an electric current in one 
coil of wire will induce a current in a neighbouring coil ; though here 
even the medium of communication is unknown. So it is possible to 
. conceive that vibration-waves, or nervous induction, are a means whereby 
activity in one brain may evoke a kindred activity in another — ^with, 
of course, a similar correspondence of psychical impressions. Even here, 
perhaps, the conception should rather be regarded as a metaphor than 
an analogy. We have only to remember that the effect of all the known 
physical forces diminishes with distance — whereas we shall find reason 
to think that, under appropriate conditions, an idea may be telepathi- 
cally reproduced on the other side of the world as easily as on the other 
side of the room. The employment, therefore, of words like force, impulse, 
impact, in speaking of telepathic influences, must not be held to imply 
the faintest suspicion of what the force is, or any hypothesis whatever 
which would co-ordinate it with the recognised forces of the material 
world. Not only, as with other delicate phenomena of life and thought, 
is the subjective side of the problem the only one that we can yet attempt 
to analyse : we do not even know where to look for the objective side. 
If there really is a physical counterpart to the fad of transmission — 
over and above the movements in the two brains which are the termini 
of the transmission — that counterpart remains wholly unknown to us. 

But a much more serious difficulty in the way of any physical con- 
ception of telepathy presents itself as soon as we pass to the cases where 
the image actually present in the agent's mind is no longer reproduced 
in the percipient's. A is dying at a distance ; B sees his form. We may 
perhaps trace a relation between the processes in their two minds ; but 
it certainly does not amount to anything like identity or distinct paral- 
lelism. That being so, there can be no such simple and immediate con- 
cordance as we have supposed between the nervous vibrations of their 
two brains ; and that being so, there is no obvious means of translating 
into physical terms the causal connection between their experiences. 
This difficulty will take a somewhat different aspect when we come later 
to consider the part which the mind's unconsciotis operations may bear 

94 TELEPATHY [Chap. Ill 

in telepathic phenomena. We ma}'- see grounds for thinking that a con- 
siderable community of experience (especially in emotional relations) 
between two persons may involve nervous records sufficiently similar 
to retain for one another some sort of revivable affinity, even v/hen the 
experience has long lost its vividness for conscious memory. Meanwhile 
it is best to admit the difficulty without reserve, and to state in the most 
explicit way that in the rapprochement between experimental thought- 
transference and spontaneous telepathic impressions we are confining 
ourselves to the psychical aspect; we connect the phenomena as being 
in all cases affections of one mind by another, occurring otherwise than 
through the recognised channels of sense. The objector may urge that 
if we have not, we ought to have, a physical theory which will embrace 
all the phenomena — that we ought not to talk about a rapport between 
A's mind and B's unless we can establish a bridge between their two 
brains. This seems rather to assume that the standing puzzle of the 
relation between cerebral and psychical events in the individual, B, can 
only be stated in one crude form — viz., that the former are prior and 
produce the latter ; and though for ordinary purposes such an expression 
is convenient, the convenience has its dangers. Still, as the converse 
proposition — that the psychical events are the prior — would be equally 
dangerous, a crux remains which we cannot evade. Since we cannot 
doubt that B's unwonted experience has its appropriate cerebral corre- 
late, we have to admit that the energy of B's brain is directed in a way 
in which it would not be directed but for something that has happened 
to A. In this physical effect it is impossible to assume that an external 
physical antecedent is not involved ; and the relation of the antecedent 
to the effect is, as I have pointed out, hard to conceive, when the neural 
tremors in A's brain are so unlike the neural tremors in B's brain as they 
must presumably be when A's mind is occupied with his immediate 
surroundings, or with the idea of death, and B's mind is occupied with 
a sudden and unaccountable impression or vision of A. 

But however things may be on the physical plane, the facts recorded 
in this book are purely psychical facts ; and on the psychical plane it is 
possible to give to a heterogeneous array of them a certain orderly coher- 
ence, and to present them as a graduated series of natural phenomena. 
Can it be asserted that this treatment is illegitimate unless a concurrent 
physical theory can also be put forward ? It is surely allowable to do one 
thing at a time. There is an unsolved mystery in the background ; that 
we grant and remember ; but it need not perpetually oppress us. After 
all, is there not that standing mystery of the cerebral and mental corre- 
lation in the individual — a mystery equally unsolved and perhaps more 
definitely and radically insoluble — at the background of every fact and 
doctrine of the recognised psychology ? The ps^^chologists work on as 
if it did not exist, or rather as if it were the most natural and intelligible 
thing in the world, and no one complains of them. All that we claim is a 
similar freedom. 



§ I. We have now to quit the experimental branclx of our subject. We 
have been engaged, so far, with cases of thought-transference dehber- 
ately sought for and observed within the four walls of a room, both the 
agent and the percipient being aware of the object in view ; and with 
the further cases where — though the distance between the agent and the 
percipient was often greater, and the latter had no intimation of what 
was intended — there was still a deliberate desire on the agent's part to 
exert a telepathic influence, and a concentration of his mind on that 
object. For the remainder of our course we shall be entirely occupied 
with cases where no such desire or idea existed — where the effect pro- 
duced on the percipient, though we may connect it with the state of the 
agent, was certainly not an effect which he was aiming at producing. 
And this change in the character of the facts is accompanied by a marked 
change in the character of the evidence — a change for which some of the 
transitional cases in the last chapter have already prepared us. Our 
conclusions will now have to be drawn from the records of persons who, 
at the time when the phenomena which they describe took place, were 
quite unaware that these would ever be used as evidence for telepathy 
or anything else. Nor have my colleagues and I any observations of 
our own to compare with what our witnesses tell us ; the facts are known 
to us only through the medium of their report, and we shall have to 
decide how far the medium may be a distorting one. Our method of 
inquiry will thus be the historical method ; and success will depend upon 
the exercise of a wider and less specialised form of common-sense than 
was required in the experimental work. A great many more points have 
to be taken into account in weighing human testimony than in arranging 
the conditions of a crucial trial of thought-transference. There, one 
precise and simple form of danger had to be guarded against — the possi- 
bility of conscious or unconscious physical signs : here, dangers multi- 
form and indeterminate will have to be allowed for. We shall be brought 
face to face with questions of character, of the general behaviour of 
human beings in various circumstances, and of the unconscious workings 
of the human mind ; and a quite different sort of logic must come into 
play, involving often a very complex estimate of probabilities. 

So all-important is it for our purpose to form a correct judgment 
as to the possible sources of error in this new department of evidence, 



that I have thought it best to devote the present chapter entirely to 
that subject. 

§ 2. First, then, to face the most general objection of all. This may 
perhaps be stated as follows. All manner of false beliefs have in their 
day been able to muster a considerable amount of evidence in theit 
support, much of which was certainly not consciously fraudulent. The 
form of superstition varies with the religious and educational conditions 
of the time ; but within certain limits a diligent collector will be able to 
obtain evidence for pretty well anything that he chooses. There is, of 
course, a line — and every age will have its own line — beyond which it 
would be impossible for anyone who wished to be thought sane and 
educated to go ; for instance, it would be impossible in the present day 
to obtain anything like respectable contemporary testimony for the 
transformation of old women into hares and cats. But short of this 
line there is always a range of ideas and beliefs as to which opinion is 
divided — which it is perfectly allowable to repudiate, and which science 
may treat with scorn, but which it is not a sign of abnormal ignorance 
or stupidity to entertain. And within this range evidence, and even 
educated evidence, for the beliefs will pretty certainly be forthcoming. 
For however much advancing knowledge may have limited the field of 
superstition, the fund of possibilities in the way of mal-observation, 
misinterpretation, and exaggeration of facts is still practically inex- 
haustible ; and with such a fund to drav/ on, the belief, or the mere desire or 
tendency to believe, in any particular order of phenomena is sure, now and 
again, to light on facts which can be made to yield the semblance of a proof. 

Now, though it is difficult to deny the force of this argument when 
stated in general terms, I think that it can be shown not seriously to 
invalidate the evidence which is here relied on as proof of the reality of 
spontaneous telepathy. For the sake of comparison, it will be worth 
while to glance at the most striking example that modern times supply 
of the support of false beliefs by a large array of contemporary evidence 
— the case of witchcraft. 

"We may begin by excluding the enormous amount of the witch- 
evidence which consisted in confessions extracted by torture, terror, or 
false promises — " the casting evidence in most tryals," as Hutchinson 
says ; and also the large class of cases where the actual facts attested 
would not be disputed ; — as where a woman was condemned because 
a child who had been with her hung its head on its return home, and 
rolled over in its cradle in the evening ; or because a good many people 
or cattle had fallen sick in her village ; or because she kept a tame frog, 
presumed to be her " imp " ; or because on the very day that she had 
scolded a carter whose cart knocked up against her house, the self-same 
cart stuck in a gate, and the men who should have emptied it at night 
felt too tired to do so.^ Putting these cases aside as irrelevant, anyone 

^ Lilienthal, Die Hexenprocesse der beiden Stddte Braunsherg (Konigsberg, 18.61), 
p. 152 ; A Detection of Chelmsford Witches (London, 1579) ; Malleus Maleficarnm 
(Lyons, 1620), vol. i., p. 242; Miiller, Beitrdge zur Oeschichte des Hexenglaubens 
(Brunswick, 1854), p. 35, etc. ; Ady, Candle in the Dark (London, 1656), p. 135 ; 
Hutchinson, Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft (London, 1720), p. 147. 


who looks carefully into the remaining records will find (i) that the actual 
testimony on which the alleged facts were believed came exclusively 
from the uneducated classes ; and (2) that the easy acceptance of this 
evidence by better educated persons was due to the ignorance which 
was at that time all but universal respecting several great departments, 
of natural phenomena — those of hallucination, trance, hysteria, and 
mesmerism. This ignorance took effect in the following way — that 
every piece of evidence to marvellous facts was perforce regarded as 
presenting one simple alternative : — either the facts happened as alleged ; 
or the witnesses must be practising deliberate fraud. The latter hypo- 
thesis was, of course, an easy one enough to make in respect of this or 
that individual case, and was supported by indisputable examples ; but 
it could not long be applied in any wholesale manner. The previous 
character of many of the persons involved, the aimlessness of such a 
fraud, the vast scale of the conspiracy which would have had to 
be organised in order to impose it on the world, and above all the 
fact that many of the witnesses brought on themselves nothing but 
opprobrium and persecution by their statements, made it practically 
impossible to doubt that the testimony was on the whole honestly 
given. Fraud, then, being excluded, there remained nothing but to 
believe the facts genuine. Sane men and women spoke with obvious 
sincerity of what they had seen with their own eyes ; how could such 
a proof be gainsaid ? This is a point which Glanvil and other writers 
of the witch-epoch are for ever urging ; if we reject these facts, 
they argue, we must reject all beliefs that have their basis in human 

Happily we have now a totally different means of escaping from 
the dilemma. We know now that subjective hallucinations may possess 
the very fullest sensory character, and may be as real to the percipient 
as any object he ever beheld. I have myself heard an epileptic subject, 
who was perfectly sane and rational in his general conduct, describe a 
series of interviews that he had had v\fith the devil, with a precision, 
and an absolute belief in the evidence of his senses, equal to anything 
that I ever read in the records of the witches' compacts. And further, 
we know now that there is a condition, capable often of being induced 
in uneducated and simple persons with extreme ease, in which any idea 
that is suggested may at once take sensory form, and be projected as 
an actual hallucination. To those who have seen robust young men, 
in an early stage of hypnotic trance, staring with horror at a figure v/hich 
appears to them to be walking on the ceiling, or giving way to strange 
convulsions under the impression that they have been changed into birds 
or snakes, there will be nothing very surprising in the belief of hysterical 
girls that they were possessed by some alien influence, or that their 
distant persecutor was actually present to their senses. It is true that 
in hypnotic experiments there is commonly some preliminary process 
by which the peculiar condition is induced, and that the idea which 
originates the delusion has then to be suggested ab extra. But with 
sensitive " subjects " who have been much under any particular in- 
fluence, a mere word will produce the effect ; nor is there any feature 
in the evidence for witchcraft that more constantly recurs than the 



touching of the victim by the witch. ^ Moreover, no hard and fast line 
exists between the delusions of induced hypnotism and those of spon- 
taneous trance, or of the grave hystero-epileptic crises which mere terror 
is now known to develop. And association between persons who were 
possessed with certain exciting ideas would readily account for the genera- 
tion of a mutually contagious influence ; as in cases where magic rites 
were performed by several persons in company ; or where a whole house- 
hold or community was affected with some particular delusion. ^ 

The above seems a sufficient explanation of the testimony which 
to the eyes of contemporaries appeared the strongest — the testimony 
of " possessed " persons, and of the professed participators in the incanta- 
tion scenes and nocturnal orgies. As regards the alleged statements 
of independent persons who testified to having witnessed the aerial rides, 
transformations into animal forms, and such-like marvels, I would remark 
in the first place that the literature of witchcraft may be searched far 
and wide without encountering half-a-dozen first-hand statements of 
the sort ;^ and in the second place, that there is a characteristic of un- 

^ Thus, in a case mentioned by De I'Ancre, in the Tableau de V Inconstance des 
mauvais Anges et Demons (Paris, 1612), p. 115, all the children who believed them- 
selves to have been taken to a " Sabbath," stated that the witch had passed her 
hand over their faces, or placed it on their heads. 

* A True and Just Record of the Information taken at St. Osey, in Essex (London, 
1582) ; Potts, WonderfuU Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, <fcc. 
(London, 1613) ; the case of the Flowers in A Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts 
relating to Witchcraft between the Years 1618 and 1664, pp. 19, 21 ; Glanvil, Sadducismus 
Triumphatus, p. 581 : Hutchinson, Op. cit., p. 53 ; Durbin, A Narrative of Some 
Extraordinary Things (Bristol, 1800), p. 47 ; Horst, Zauber-Bibliothelc, p. 219 ; 
Madden, Phantasmata, vol. i., pp. 346-7 ; T. Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts 
£a3/(Boston, 1692),vol.ii.,p. 18 ; ',L' Homme etT Intelligence (Paris, 1884), p. 392. 

^ If " first-hand " be restricted (as it is throughout this book) to statements in 
the witness's own words, I cannot point to a single such statement ; but in the above 
phrase I mean merely the author's statement of what was told directly to himself. 
The circumstantial evidence (also very meagre) for these miracles stands on different 
ground ; as there the facts recorded are quite credible, and only the inference need 
be rejected. For example, the external evidence relied on for the supposed trans- 
formations was usually that the accused proved to have some bodily hurt on the 
same day as a wolf or some other animal had been wounded. [In " Additions and 
Corrections " Gurney adds : — ] After this note had been printed off, I came across a 
passage from Die Christliche Mystik, by J. J. von Goerres, in which a learned bishop, 
Prudencio de Sandoval, is made to describe a witch's journey through the air as though 
he had himself been a judicial spectator of it. A reference to Sandoval's own account, 
however, in his Historia de la vida y hechos del Emperador Carlos V. (Pamplona, 1618), 
vol. i., p. 830, shows that the trial of the witch in question took place in 1527. Now 
Sandoval died in 1621 ; clearly, therefore, he could not have been a first-hand witness, 
as represented. Nor does he even name his authority ; and discredit is thrown on 
his sources of information by Llorente, in his Anales de la Inquisicion de Espana 
(Madrid, 1812), p. 319. As the passage from Goerres was quoted in a first-class 
scientific review, and, if accurate, would have told against my statements as to the 
absence of first-hand evidence for alleged magical occurrences, I have thought it 
worth while to forestall a possible objection. 

The only instance that I can find, durmg the witch-epoch, of definite first-hand 
evidence for a marvel of a type which our present knowledge of abnormal bodily 
and mental states will not explain, is, as it happens, not part of the history of so 
called magic, but is connected with the extraordinary epidemic of religious excite 
ment which took place in the Cevennes at the beginning of the eighteenth century 
[Gurney then gives the facts concerning an alleged case of standing in a fire unburnt ; 
the evidence going to show that the first-hand witnesses were untrustworthy persons 


educated minds which is only exceptionally observed in educated 
adults — the tendency to confound mental images, pure and simple, 
with matters of fact. This tendency naturally allies itself with any 
set of images which is prominent in the beliefs of the time ; and 
it is certain now and then to give to what are merely vivid ideas 
the character of bond fide memories. The imagination which may 
be unable to produce, even in feeble-minded persons, the belief that 
they see things that are not there, may be quite able to produce 
the belief that they have seen them — which is all, of course, that their 
testimony implies.^ 

There is, however, one small class of phenomena connected with 
witchcraft which stands on different ground, as regards the quality of 
the evidence adduced for it. A few cases are recorded, on really respect- 
able authority, of a remarkable susceptibility, shown by persons whom 
we might now recognise as hypnotic " subjects," to the conscious or 
unconscious influence of some absent person supposed to be a witch ; 
and perhaps also of abnormal powers of discernment on the part of the 
supposed witches themselves. These alleged telepathic cases naturally 
fell into discredit along with all the other phenomena of occult agency. 
For the belief in witchcraft faded and ultimately died as a whole ; not 
because each sort of phenomenon was in turn exposed or explained, or 
because any critical account of hallucinations and popular delusions 
was forthcoming, or even because a certain amount of distinct fraud 
was proved, but because the general tide of uncritical opinion took a 
turn towards scepticism as to matters supernatural. Now we are certainly 
not concerned to maintain that this or that influence of alleged telepathic 
influence ought to have been allowed to stand as genuine, when belief 
in the more phantastic phenomena was undermined. It is probable 
that in the former, as in the latter, the influence of imagination was not 
allowed for, and that the different items of evidence were never tested 
and compared in the manner that true scientific scepticism would dictate. 
We, at any rate, have difficulty enough in testing the accuracy of con- 
temporary evidence, and certainly are not going to rest any part of our 
case on the records of a bygone age. But if anyone who has studied 
the evidence for witchcraft urges these cases as a proof that the more 
recent telepathic evidence is unworthy of attention, it is reasonable to 
remark that if telepathy is in operation now, it was probably in 
operation then ; and that the only cases of supposed magic with 
which persons of sense and education seem, at the time, to have 
come to close quarters were similar in character to cases for which 

^ Another explanation might be attempted, if (on the analogy of certain Indian 
juggling tricks) we could suppose the spectator to have been unawares subjected to 
a " mesmeric glamour," whereby the suggestion of the magical occurrence was 
enabled to develop in his mind into an actual vision of it. One story in the Malleut 
Maleficamm, where a girl appeared to herself and to her friends to be a mare, while 
a priest (over whom the evil influence had no power) saw her as a girl, strongly recalls 
some of the Indian stories. See also the curious account of imps which appears in 
Witches of Huntingdon, Renfrew, and Essex (London, 1646). Such a result would, 
however, enormously transcend the range of mesmeric influence as so far recognised 
in the West ; and we certainly need not strain hypotheses to save the credit of 
writers like Sprenger. 


persons of sense and education are still found to offer their personal 
testimony. ' 

But in whatever light these residual cases be regarded, the general 
conclusion remains the same — that the phenomena which were charac- 
teristic of witchcraft, and which are an accepted type of exploded super- 
stitions, never rested on the first-hand testimony of educated and in- 
telligent persons ; and the sweeping assertion which is often made that 
such persons were, in their day, witnesses to the truth of these absurdities 
needs, therefore, to be carefully guarded. What the educated and in- 
telligent believers did was to accept from others, as evidence of objective 
facts, statements which were really only evidence of subjective facts. 
And they did this naturally and excusably, because they lived at a time 
when the science of psychology was in its infancy, and the necessary 
means of correction were not within their reach. - 

One further criticism may be made as to the mental condition of 
those who were in any direct sense witnesses to the facts. They were 
invariably persons inclined to such beliefs to begin with — who had been 

^ Of the early records the best known is the evidence of the P^re Surin and others 
in respect of the hysterical epidemic in the Ursuline convent at Loudun, in 1633. 
But perhaps the most carefully observed case is the older one given in the Most 
Strange and Admirable Discovery of the Three Witches of Warboys (London, 1593), 
of which Sir W. Scott's account (Demonology and Witchcraft, p. 238) gives a very 
imperfect idea. Another example of much the same kind is given in G. More's True 
Discourse against S. Harsnet (London, 1600). The cases where the victim showed 
uneasiness when the absent witch was at large, and relief when she was bolted, 
though quite inconclusive, seem occasionally to have been rationally tested. ( Witch- 
craft further Displayed, London, 1712, p. 21 ; History of the Witches of Renfrewshire, 
Paisley, 1809, p. 134 ; Sadducismus Debellatus, London, 1698, p. 47.) The assertions 
that " possessed persons " were able to read secrets present sometimes this sign of 
sobriety, that the revelations are said to have concerned only past and present, not 
future, things (see, e.g., Lercheimer, Ein Christlich Bedenken und Erir.nerung von 
Zauberei, Heidelberg, 1585 ; and Majolus, Dies Caniculares, Mainz, 1614, p. 593) ; 
but as such a power finds no parallel in the telepathy of our day, it is satisfactory 
rather than otherwise to find that it is supported by hardly anythhig that can be 
called evidence. The strongest item is perhaps the testimony of Poncet to the powers 
of some of the convulsio una ires of St. Medard (see Bertrand, Du MagnMisme Animal, 
Paris, 1826, p. 435). Nor do the " thought-reading " stories about Somers [e.g., 
in Darrell's Brief Apologie and Detection, London, 1599 and 1600), and about Escot de 
Parme (De I'Ancre, L'Incrediilite et Mescreancedu Sortilege, Paris, 1622) reach even the 
lowest evidential grade. It wouldbeuselesstomultiplyindecisive instances. If the Zeasi 
wretchedly-attested cases, even in the most wretched collections of witch-anecdotes, 
turn out to be those which admit of a telepathic explanation, yet much stronger 
cases might well be damned by such company. And though some of the less credulous 
authors, who have a real notion of natural causes and of what constitutes proof, 
seem to have felt the evidence for supersenuous communications to be too strong 
to resist (e.g., Cotta in The Infallible, True and Assured Witch, London, 1625) their 
general position is too wavering for their authority to have any weight. One rises 
from their works feeling that this was the side of the subject which had produced 
on them the strongest impression of reality ; and that is all that can be said. 

- I am speaking — it must be remembered — of the attitude of educated and 
intelligent persons towards assertions which might (however loosely) be described 
as evidence. That such persons often showed themselves credulous and uninquiring 
in attaching value to mere legends and local gossip is of course true enough, but does 
not concern the present argument. For a justification of the above remarks, see the 
Note on Witchcraft at the end of this chapter. [Considerations of space have led 
to the omission in this edition of this very important Note, which is of considerable 
length. An abstract of it is retained in the Synopsis. — Ed.] 


brought up iu them and had accepted them as a matter of course. "We 
have no record of anyone who had all his life declined to admit the reality 
of the alleged phenomena, and who was suddenly convinced of his mistake 
by coming into personal contact with them. 

§ 3. We are no\y in a position to perceive, by comparison, how the 
case stands with the e-vddence for telepathy which awaits examination. 
It would almost be sufficient to say that the comparison is an absolute 
contrast in respect of every point which has been mentioned. A very 
large number of our first-hand witnesses are educated and intelligent 
persons, whose sobriety of judgment has never been called in question. 
For the most part, moreover, they have been in no way inclined to admit 
the reality of the phenomena, prior to themselves encountering them. 
By many of them even what they themselves narrate has not been re- 
garded with special interest ; while others, who have been unable to get 
behind their own experience, have expressed scepticism as to the existence 
of the phenomena as a class. ^ The facts themselves have no special 
affinity with any particular form of faith ; they are not facts in a belief 
of v/hich any one is specially brought up. And here we may contrast 
telepathy, not only with the comparatively modern superstition of witch- 
craft, but with phenomena of much older and wider acceptance — the 
alleged apparitions of the dead. The continued existence of departed 
friends and relatives has been one of the most constant elements of re- 
ligious beliefs ; and that myths should grow up respecting their appear- 
ances to survivors is what might have naturally been looked for. But 
even in respect of the most striking sort of phenomena with which we 
shall here be concerned — apparitions at the time of death — we do not 
find in men's prevalent habits of thought, at any state of culture, elements 
which would be particularly likely to produce a m^^th on the subject. 
And as a matter of fact, if we go to the classes of persons whose beliefs 
have no special relation to evidence, we do actually find the one myth 
prevalent, and not the other. The idea of apparitions .after death has 
a wide and strong hold on the popular mind ; the idea of apparitions 
at the time either of death, or of serious crises in life, has no established 
vogue. Instances are, no doubt, to be met with in books of history, 
biography, and travel ; and the range which such notices cover is itself 
important, as showing that the idea, though so far from universally 
prevalent, is for all that not in any sense a speciality of particular times 
or localities. But though numerous, the instances are sporadic ; they 
appear as isolated marvels, which even those who experienced them 
regarded as such, and not as evidences to any widely -believed reality. 
So much is this the case that to many persons with whom we have con- 

^ It is amusing sometimes to encounter arbitrary fragments of scepticism, com- 
bined with a belief in the " supernatural " character of majay of the coincidences 
which we are endeaTouring to account for as natural. Thus a gentleman contributes 
a case to Knowledge (May 16th, 1884) and concludes his letter thus : " Personally, 
I do not believe in apparitions, nor in anything akin thereto ; but coincidences such 
as you record from week to week must have happened to most of us, and obtuse 
indeed must the individual be who does not think that there is something super- 
natural sometimes even in coincidences." 


versed on the subject we find that the very idea of such phenomena is 
practically new ; and that " apparitions," whether delusions or realities, 
have always been considered by them as apparitions of the dead^ And 
if this is true of the more striking telepathic cases, a fortiori is it true of 
the less striking. The class of apparitions and impressions which have 
corresponded with the death of the " agent " has only been vaguely 
recognised ; the class which have corresponded with a state of passing 
excitement or danger can hardly be said to have been recognised at all. 
Even persons with whose general way of thinking they might seem com- 
patible are apt to be repelled by their apparent uselessness, and certainly 
are not wont to exhibit any a priori belief in their reality ; while to others 
who have encountered them, they have appeared in the objectionable 
light of a puzzle, without analogies and without a place in the recognised 
order of Nature. 

But though I think that it is not hard to distinguish the evidence 
on which we rely from the evidence for various forms of popular super- 
stition, and to show that, as a matter of fact, telepathy is not a popular 
superstition, I am far from denying a certain degree of force to the line 
of objection above suggested. Ignorance, credulity, and a predisposition 
to believe in a particular order of marvels, are not the only sources of 
unconscious falsification in human testimony ; and it by no means follows, 
because these particular elements of error are absent, that a bond-fide 
first-hand narrative of contemporary facts is trustworthy. And having 
briefly considered certain dangers and objections from which we think 
that our telepathic evidence is free, I proceed now to consider certain 
others to which it is to a certain extent exposed, and to explain the means 
by which we have endeavoured to obviate or reduce them. 

§ 4. It will be best to enumerate, one by one, the general sources 
of error which may affect the testimony of honest and fairly-educated 
persons, to events that are both unusual and of a sort unrecognised 
by contemporary science. We shall thus be able to observe in detail 
how far each is likely to have affected the evidence here brought forward. 

The most obvious danger may seem to lie in errors of observation 
and inference. And first as to errors of observation. The phenomena 

^ Next to these, the best-recognised class are undoubtedly the premonitory 
apparitions of " second-sight." 

Since the above remarks were written, I am glad to find them implicitly confirmed 
by a very high authority on myth and folk-lore, Mr. Andrew Lang. In the Nineteenth 
Century for April, 1885, he showed very clearly and amusingly how the same types of 
" ghost-story " are found in the most distant places, and in the most diverse stages of 
culture— -whether owing to some common basis of fact, or to the same pervading love 
of the mysterious, or (as is sometimes undoubted^ the case) to the survival of 
remnants of primitive superstitions in the midst of an advancing civilisation. But 
though most of his instances are drawn from barbarous countries, he " has not 
encountered, among savages, more than one example" pointing to a belief in what 
we call telepathic impressions; and even that one is a very doubtful example. There 
is, as I have said, a certain amount of sporadic evidence that the phenomena have 
been noticed at many different times and places ; but of any pervading belief, such 
as would cause people to be on the qui vivc for them and would ensure a perpetual 
supply of spurious evidence, neither we nor apparently Mr. Lang can find any indica- 
tion whatever. 


with which these have to do are naturally objective phenomena. It is 
only in reference to the objective world that observation can be proved 
to be accurate or faulty ; the faulty observation is that which interprets 
real things in a way that does not correspond with reality. Now mis- 
interpretation of this sort may undoubtedly produce spurious telepathic 
cases ; and wherever we can suppose it to have been possible, we are 
bound to exclude the case from our evidence. Thus we have a group of 
narratives of the following t3^e, suggesting a mistake of identity. 
Mrs. Campbell, of DunstafEnage, Oban, wrote, in June, 1884 : — 

" Two years ago one of our tenant farmers was very ill, and my brother 
asked me to inquire how he was, on my way back from a walk I was going 
to take with a cousin of mine. We went, but on passing the old man's 
house I forgot to go in, and soon we arrived at our avenue, when my 
cousin reminded me of not having asked for the sick man. I thought of 
returning, when I distinctly saw the old man, followed by his favourite 
dog, cross a field in front of us, and go into his house, and I remarked to 
my cousin, who also had seen the old man and his dog, that as he was so 
well that he was able to walk about, there was not much use in going to 
inquire for him, so we went on home. But on arriving there, my brother 
came to tell us that the old man's son had just been to say that his father 
had just died." 

Here it is possible, and therefore for evidential purposes necessary, 
to suppose that the figure seen was a neighbour, or perhaps the old man's 

[Two further examples are here omitted. — Ed.] In another case, 
two gentlemen crossed Piccadilly under the impression that they saw a 
friend, who, as it turned out, died in India on that day. But it is needless 
to multiply instances ; in all of them the figure seen has been out of doors, 
and at some yards' distance ; and these being the very circumstances 
in which we know that spurious recognitions often take place, there is 
nothing surprising in an occasional coincidence of the sort described. 
Similarly, a person may hear a call, perhaps of his own Christian name, 
outside his house, and may mistake the voice for that of a friend ; and, 
" in due course," as our informants sometimes say, the news of that friend's 
death ma^^ arrive. But it is only to an inconsiderable fraction of the 
evidence here presented that such explanations could by any possibility 
be applied. The large majority of the alleged experiences are, on the 
face of them, subjective phenomena, in the sense that they are indepen- 
dent of any real objects in the environment, and of any mistakes possible 
in connection with such objects, and are due to a peculiar affection of 
the percipient's own mind. This mode of regarding them (and the re- 
servations with which the word " subjective " must be used) will be 
fully explained in the sequel. It is enough for the present to note that 
the witness who would be an unsafe authority if be said, " Sea-serpents 
exist," may be a safe authority if he says, " I saw what appeared to be 
a sea-serpent " ; and this amount of assertion is all that the telepathic 

1 I may say here, once for all, that our gratitude to an informant is none the less 
because his or her experience may not have appeared relevant to the direct argument 
of this book. Such oases have often been very useful and instructive in other ways. 


evidence in\'olves. All the accuracy of observation required of the witness 
has to do with what he seemed to himself to see, or to hear, or to feel. 

Nor in our cases is the danger of errors of inference so serious as might 
be imagined. A man may, no doubt, see something odd or indefinite, 
at the time that his mother dies at a distance, and may infer that it 
bodes calamity ; and if, after he hears of the death, he infers and reports 
that he saw his mother's form, the error will be a very grave one. But it 
will be more convenient to treat retrospective mistakes of this sort under 
the head of errors of memory. And with a percipient's interpretation 
of his impression at the moment we have really very little concern. He may 
see the apparition of a relative in his room, and infer first that it is the 
relative's real figure in flesh and blood, and next that it is the relative's 
spirit. Neither inference has any relation to our argument. The only 
fact that concerns us is the fact that he had the subjective impression 
of seeing his relative. I may refer once more, by way of contrast, to 
the case of witchcraft, where the very basis of the superstition was error 
of inference — error shown (and by the more intelligent class exclusively 
shown) not in the giving but in the interpreting of testimony. 

§ 5. The tendencies to error which more vitally concern us fall broadly, 
into tv/o classes — tendencies to error in narration, and tendencies to error 
of memory. Let us ask, then, what are the various conscious or uncon- 
scious motives which may cause persons who belong to the educated 
class, and who have a general character for truthfulness, to narrate ex- 
periences of telepathic impressions in a manner which is not strictly 
accurate ? 

One motive which has undoubtedly to be allowed for in some cases 
is the desire to make the account edifying. This danger naturally at- 
taches to the evidence for any class of facts which can be regarded, 
however erroneously, as transcending natural law. Enthusiastic persons 
will value an unusual occurrence, not for its intrinsic interest, but for 
its tendency, if accepted, to convert others to their own way of belief ; 
and they will be apt to shape and colour their account of it with a view 
to the desired effect. Intent on pointing the moral, they will uncon- 
sciously adorn the tale. This source of error is one which it is specially 
necessary to bear in mind where some particular tj^pe of story is con- 
nected with a particular religious sect. The literature of the Society 
of Friends, for instance, is remarkably rich in accounts of providential 
monitions and premonitions ; and it supplies also a considerable number 
of telepathic cases. But we have already seen that telepathy does not 
specially lend itself to the support of definite articles of faith. Nor is 
any one who takes the trouble to study our evidence likely to maintain 
that errors of narration have largely entered into it under the influence 
of a propagandist zeal. It is rather for the sake of completeness than 
on account of its practical importance that such a possibility has been 

A far more frequent and effective source of error in narration is the 
tendency to make the account graphic and picturesque. Among human 
beings, the motives which prompt narration of matters unconnected 
with business or the mere machinery of life are mainly two — a desire 


to interest one's auditor ; and a desire to put oneself en evidence, to feed 
one's own self-esteem by attracting and retaining the attention of others. 
The influence of each of these motives is towards making the story as 
good a one as possible. And though, as I have already said, a good deal 
of our evidence comes from persons who profess to have had no bias in 
favour of the reality of such events as they describe, and wish rather 
that they had not occurred, still the instinct to make what one says 
seem worth saying is too general for it ever to be safe to assume its ab- 
sence. In such a subject as ours, this instinct will find its chief oppor- 
tunity in making things appear marvellous. The reader must decide 
for himself how far the evidence to be here presented bears the stamp of the 
wonder-monger or raconteur. The desire to make people open their 
eyes is no doubt perfectly compatible with a habit of truthfulness in the 
ordinary affairs of life. Still, the desire, as a rule, is actually to see the 
eyes opening ; and the danger is therefore greater in the case of a story 
which is told off-hand and viva voce for the sake of immediate effect, 
than in the case of evidence which is first written down at leisure, and 
has then to undergo the ordeal of a careful and detailed scrutiny. Nor 
must we forget that there is another instinct which tends directly to 
discourage wonder-mongering, at any rate in the narration of unusual 
personal experiences — the instinct to win belief. Where the risk of being 
disbelieved is appreciable, a sense of accuracy becomes also a sense of 
security ; a thing being credible to oneself just because it is fact, the 
consciousness of not exaggerating the fact begets a sort of trust that 
others may somehow find it credible. And with the class from whom 
our evidence is chiefly drawn, this influence seems not less likely to be 
operative than the desire to say something startling. The latter ten- 
dency is more prone on the whole to affect second-hand witnesses, who 
do not feel bound to exercise any economy of the miraculous, who can 
always fall back on the plea that they are only telling what was told to 
them, and who may easily be led into inaccuracies by the analogy of 
other marvellous stories. 

And indeed it is a matter of ordinary observation, by no means con- 
fined to " psychical research," that where the subject of narration has 
nothing to do with merit, and what is alleged to have been done or suffered 
is not of a sort to attract admiration to the doer or sufferer, the more 
extravagant sort of stories are given, not as personal experiences, but 
on the authority of someone else. If there is exaggeration, it is "a 
friend " who is to blame ; and this term is used on such occasions with 
considerable latitude. I have already noted how, in the case of witch- 
craft, the more bizarre incidents do not rest on anything like traceable 
first-hand testimony. This remark is applicable in a general way to the 
whole field of evidence for marvellous events, as recorded in modern 
literature ; and the same fact has been very noticeable with respect to 
the evidence, of very various sorts and qualities, which has come under 
the attention of my colleagues and myself during the last few years. 
We have often taken the trouble to trace and test the matter of those 
sensational newspaper-paragraphs which get so freely copied from one 
journal into another ; but in scarcely one per cent, of the cases has the 
evidence held water. And in the ordinary talk of society, where there 


is often a show or assertion of authority for the statements made, one 
gradually learns to diagnose with confidence the accounts which profess 
to be second or third hand from the original, but of which no original 
will ever be forthcoming. An example is the well-known tale of a drip- 
ping letter, handed to a lady by the phantasmal figure of a midshipman 
who had been drowned before he could execute his commission. If the 
newspaper anecdotes were like bubbles that break in the pursuer's hand, 
a society marvel of this stamp may be more fitly compared to a will- 
o'-the-wisp : one never gets any nearer to it. Then there is the young 
lady who was preserved from a railway accident by seeing the apparition 
of her fiance on the platform of three consecutive stations — which 
induced her to alight. Here I was actually promised an introduction 
to the heroine : what I finally received was a reference to " a friend of 
the lady who told the story." Or, again, there is the tale of second-sight, 
so widely told during the last three years, where the visitor saw a daughter 
of the house stabbed by a stranger, whom he has since identified as her 
husband, and has remorselessly dogged in hansom cabs. Three or four 
times have we been, so to speak, " one off " this story ; but the various 
clues have shown no sign of converging ; and we still occasionally hear 
of the happy couple as on their honeymoon. 

§ 6. Turning now to the sources of error in memory, we find the danger 
here is of a more insidious kind, in that comparatively few persons realise 
the extent to which it exists in their own case. For one who is innocent 
of any desire to impress his auditor in any particular way, and who simply 
desires to tell the truth, it is not easy to realise that he may be an un- 
trustworthy witness about matters concerning himself. The weaknesses 
of human memory, and the precautions which they necessitate, will be 
so frequent a topic in the sequel that a brief classification will here suffice. 

We must allow, in the first place, for a common result of the belief 
in supernatural influences and providential interpositions. Persons who 
are interested in such ideas will be keenly alive to any phenomena which 
seem to transcend a purely materialistic view of life. They will be apt 
to see facts of this class where they do not exist, and to interpret in this 
sense small or vague occurrences which if accurately examined at the 
time might have been otherwise explained. And where this tendency 
exists, it is almost inevitable that, as time goes on, the occurrence should 
represent itself to memory more and more in the desired light, that in- 
convenient details should drop out, and that the remainder should stand 
out in a deceptively significant and harmonious form. Of the cases to 
be here presented, however, only a very small proportion betray any 
idea on the part of the witness that what he recounts has any special 
religious or philosophical significance. Our informants have had no 
motive to conceal from us their real view of the facts ; and if they narrate 
an incident as simply strange or unaccountable, we have no right to 
assume their evidence to have been coloured by an emotional sense that 
materialism had been refuted in their person, or that supernatural com- 
munications had been permitted to them. Indeed, as regards religious 
and emotional prepossessions, we are certainly justified in thinking that 
they have rather been hindrances than helps to the presentation of an 


abundant array of evidence. For it has happened in many instances 
that persons whose testimony would have been a valuable addition to 
the case for telepathy, have felt their experiences to be too intimate or 
too sacred for publication.^ 

But apart from any bias of an emotional or speculative sort, we must 
certainly admit a general tendency in the human mind to make any 
picture of facts definite. To many people vagueness of emotion or of 
speculation is a delight ; but no one enjoys vagueness of memory. In 
thinking of an event which was in any way shadowy or uncertain, there 
is always a certain irksomeness in realising clearly how little clear it was. 
The same applies, of course, to events at which we look back through 
any considerable interval of time. The very effort to recall them implies 
an effort to represent them to the mind as precisely and completely as 
possible, and it is often not observed that the precision thus attained is 
not that of reality. 

Lastly, there is a general tendency to lighten the burden of memory 
by simplifying its contents — by bringing any group of connected events 
into as round and portable a form as possible. This may, of course, only 
result in the loss of excrescences and subordinate features, while the 
essential incident is left intact. But we shall find instances further on 
where simplification really alters the character of the evidence. Details 
may not simply drop out ; they may undergo a change, and group them- 
selves conveniently round some central idea. It might reasonably be 
expected, and we ourselves certainly began by expecting, that error 
from this source would always tell in the direction of actual distortion 
and exaggeration ; if the aspect of the case was to some extent striking 
and insignificant to begin with, it would seem likely that this aspect of 
it should become more pronounced as it assumed a more isolated place 
in the mind, and lost its connection with the normal stream of experience 
in the course of which it appeared. As a matter of fact, however, this 
is by no means always what happens. For instance, we have met with 
several cases of the following sort. An impression of a remarkable kind, 
and which, if telepathy exists, may fairly be regarded as telepathic, 
has been produced on a percipient while in a state which he recognised 
at the time as one of complete wakefulness, and which was practically 
proved to be so by the fact that he did not wake from it — that it formed 
a connected part of his waking life. But in the natural gravitation towards 
easy accounts of things, he gradually gets to look back on this experience 
as a dream ; that is, he allows the verdict of subsequent memory to 
supplant the verdict of immediate consciousness. We must not then 
say in our haste, all men — or all memories — are exaggerators. Even 
where evidence has been modified in passing through several mouths, 

^ To take a single instance — a lady sends us an unsensational narrative of the 
ordinary type, as to how one day in 1882, when just about to sit down to the piano, 
she saw close to her the figure of an old school-friend, who, as it turned out, died on 
that daj' at a distance. " I am confident," she says, " of having seen the vision, 
though my common sense makes me wish to put it down to imagmation. I never 
saw any vision of any kind before or sinc^." But we are withheld from quoting the 
account in a form which could have any evidential value, by her feeling that such 
publication would be wrong. 


a comparison between later and earlier versions of the same occurrence 
has sometimes shown that its more striking and significant character- 
istics have lost rather than gained by the transmission. But this is no 
doubt the exception. 

§ 7. Such, in brief outline, are the principal sources of error which 
may in a general way be supposed to affect the sort of evidence with 
which we are concerned ; and our next step must be to fix with precision 
what the actual opportunities for perversion are. The evidence for 
telepathy has a certain type and structure of its own, and we must realise 
what this is, in order to know where to look for the weak points. What, 
then, are the essential elements of a typical telepathic phenomenon ? 
They consist in two events or two states, of a more or less remarkable 
kind, and connected, as a rule, by certain common characteristics ; and 
of a certain time-relation between the two. For example, if a flawless 
case is to be presented, it would be of the following type and composition : 
It would comprise (i) indisputable evidence that A (whom we call the 
agent) has had an unusual experience — say, has died ; (2) indisputable 
evidence that B (whom we call the percipient) has had an unusual ex- 
perience which includes a certain impression of A — say, has, while wide 
awake, had a vision of A in the room ; (3) indisputable evidence that 
the two events coincided in time — which, of course, implies that their 
respective dates can be accurately fixed. When I call such evidence as 
this flawless, I do not, of course, mean that it is conclusive : the fact that 
the two events occurred, and the fact that they occurred simultaneously, 
might be placed beyond dispute, and the coincidence might, for all that, 
be due not to telepathy, but to chance alone. But though no single case 
_can prove telepathy, no case where the above conditions are not to some 
extent realised can even help to prove it. Briefly, then, if the account 
of some alleged instance of telepathy is evidentially faulty, there must 
be misrepresentation as to one or more of the following items : (i) the 
state of the agent ; (2) the experience of the percipient ; (3) the time 
of (i) ; (4) the time of (2). 

Now the evidence where the chances of misrepresentation have 
primarily to be considered is clearly that of the percipient. It is the 
percipient's mention of his own experience which makes, so to speak, 
the groundwork of the case ; unless the percipient gives his own account 
of this experience, the case is in no sense a first-hand one ; whereas if 
such an account is given we should consider the evidence first-hand, 
even though the account of the agent's state is not obtained from himself. 
Of course when the agent is in a position to give an account, it is im- 
portant that his evidence should be procured ; but this is impossible 
in the numerous cases where his share in the matter consists simply in 
dying. In these cases, then, we are dependent on others for evidence 
as to the agent's side of the occurrence ; and primarily often on the per- 
cipient, who is our first and indispensable witness for the whole matter. 
This being premised, we shall have no difficulty in discovering where 
the risks of misrepresentation really lie. 

/ § S. Taking the above four items in order, the first of them — the 


state of the agent — is the one where the risk is smallest. To take the 
commonest case, the veiy fact, death, which makes it impossible to 
obtain the agent's personal testimony, is an event as to which, of all 
others in his history, it is least likely that a person who knew him should 
be in error. It is one also as to which corroboration of the percipient's 
statement is often most easily obtained ; either from the verbal testi- 
mony of surviving relatives and friends, or from contemporary letters, 
notices, and obituaries. And where the event which has befallen the 
agent falls short of this degree of gravity, it is probably still sufficiently 
out of the common for the ascertainment of it by the percipient and 
others to have been natural and easy ; and d fortiori sufficiently out of 
the common to have stamped itself on the memory of the agent himself, 
who may now be available as a witness. 

When we come to the next item — the experience of the percipient 
— the risk of misrepresentation seems decidedly to increase. For the 
witness is now recounting something purely personal, for the occurrence 
of which he can produce no objective proofs. He says that he saw some- 
thing, or heard something, or felt something, which struck him as re- 
markable (in many cases, indeed, as unique in his experience), and this 
has to be taken on his word ; no external observation of him (even were 
anyone present with him at the time) could reveal whether he was 
actually experiencing these sensations which he afterwards described. 
Now to a careless glance it may seem that there is a loophole here, through 
which enough error may enter to invalidate the whole case. It may be 
said that the percipient was perhaps nervous, or unwell, or imaginative ; 
and that a report of impressions which are received under such conditions 
cannot be relied on as evidence. But in what was said above as to errors 
of observation, this objection has been practically answered. It would 
be in place if the question were whether what he thought he perceived 
was really there ; but it is not in place when the question is simply what 
he thought he perceived. We are discussing the experience of the per- 
cipient as the second of the four heads under which misrepresentation 
may enter. Now, misrepresentation of this experience would consist 
simply in the statement that he had had certain sensations or impressions 
which he had not had : misinterpretation of the experience — e.g., if he 
imagined that his friend was actually physically present where his form 
had been seen or his voice heard — has nothing to do with the 
evidential point. Grant that the percipient's senses played him false — 
that his impression was a hallucination ; that, as I have implied, is the 
very light in which we ourselves regard it ; it may even be the light in 
which he regarded it himself. That does not prevent its being an unusual 
experience ; and it is simply as an unusual experience, which included 
an impression of his friend, that it has a place in the evidence. 

Now the probability that this unusual experience has been misrepre- 
sented will be very different, according as the mention of it by the per- 
cipient precedes or follows his knowledge of what has befallen the agent. 
If he gives his account in ignorance of that event, and independently 
of any ideas which it might be calculated to awake in his mind, there 
seems no ground at all for supposing that he has coloured his statement, 
at any rate in any way which would affect its evidential value. If A, a 


person with a general character for truthfulness, and with no motive to 
deceive, mentions having had an unusual experience — a hallucination 
of the senses, an unaccountable impression, or whatever he likes to call 
it — which was strongly suggestive of B, no one will tell him that he is 
romancing or exaggerating, and that he had no such impression as he 
reports. He will simply be told that his nerves are overstrung, or that 
he has had a waking dream, or something of that sort. And this assump- 
tion of the truth of the statement could of course not be impugned merely 
because it subsequently turned out that B died at the time. 

Hence, one of the points to which we have, throughout our inquiry, 
attached the highest value, is the proof that evidence of the percipient's 
experience was in existence prior to the receipt of the news of the agent's 
condition. This prior evidence may be of various sorts. The percipient 
may at once make a written record in a diary, or in a letter which may 
have been preserved. Where this has been the case, we have always 
endeavoured to obtain the document for inspection. " Or he may have 
mentioned his hallucination or impression to some one who made a note 
of it, or who distinctly remembers that it was so mentioned ; and when- 
ever this has been done, we have endeavoured to get written corrobora- 
tion from this second person. Evidence of this class affords comparatively 
little opportunity for the various sorts of error which have been passed 
in review. No amount of carelessness of narration, or of love of the 
marvellous, would enable a witness to time his evidence in correspon- 
dence with an event of which he was ignorant, nor to fix on the right 
person with whom to connect his alleged experience. Errors of memory 
are equally unlikely to take a form which makes the impression corre- 
spond with an unknown event ; and danger from that source is, moreover, 
at a minimum, in cases which are distinguished by the very fact that 
the impression has been itself recorded immediately, or very shortly, 
after its occurrence. 

But apart from the actual records of the experience in writing or in 
someone else's memory, it may have produced action of a sufficiently 
distinct sort on the percipient's part ; for instance, it may have so dis- 
turbed him as to make him take a journey, or write at once for tidings of 
the agent's condition. Such immediate action, which can often be sub- 
stantiated by others, affords a strong independent proof that the impression 
had occurred, and had been of an unusual kind. And even if he has 
done none of these things, yet if he describes a state of discomfort or 
anxiety, following on his experience and preceding his receipt of the 
news, this must, at any rate, be accounted a fresh item of testimony, 
confirmatory of the mere statement that such-and-such an unusual ex- 
perience had befallen him ; and it is sometimes possible to obtain the 
corroboration of others who have noticed or been made aware of this 
anxiety, even though the source of it was not mentioned. If, however, 
he has kept his feelings as well as their cause, to himself, there is, of course, 
nothing but his subsequent memory to depend on. Here, therefore, we 
shall have a transitional step to the next evidential class, where the 
percipient's own perception of the importance of the experience, and 
any possibilities of confirmation, date from a time when the condition 
of the agent has become known. 


§ q. Cases of this type are of course, as a class, less satisfactory. It 
is here that some of the recognised tendencies to error — the impulse to 
make vague things definite, and the impulse to make a group of facts 
compact and harmonious — may find their opportunity. The error will, 
of course, not arise without a certain foundation in fact : the news that 
a friend has died is not in itself calculated to create a wholly fictitious 
idea that one has had an unusual experience shortly before the news 
arrived. But an experience which has been somewhat out of the common 
may look quite different when recalled in the light of the subsequent 
knowledge. It may not only gain in significance ; its very content may 
alter. A person perhaps heard his name called when no one was near, 
and, not being subject to hallucinations of hearing, he was momentarily 
struck by the fact, but dismissed it from his mind. A day or two after- 
wards he hears of a friend's death. It then occurs to him that the events 
may have been connected. He endeavours to recall the sound that he 
heard, and seems to hear in it the tones of the familiar voice. Gradually 
the connection that he has at first only dimly surmised, becomes a certainty 
for him ; and in describing the occurrence, without any idea of deceiving, 
he will mention his friend's voice as though he had actually recognised 
it at the time. In the same way something dimly seen in an imperfect 
light may take for subsequent memory the aspect of a recognisable form ; 
or a momentary hallucination of touch may recur to the mind as a clasp 
of farewell. 

Now such possibilities cannot be too steadily kept in view, during 
the process of collecting and sifting evidence. At the same time, the 
interrogation of witnesses, and the comparison of earlier and later ac- 
counts, have not revealed any definite instance of this sort of inaccuracy. 
Now the number of alleged telepathic cases which we have examined 
(a number of which the [700] narratives given in this book form less than 
a third) seems sufficiently large for the various types of error that really 
exist to have come to light ; and, as a matter of fact, certain types have 
come to light, and have helped us to a view of what may be called the 
laws of error in such matters. If, then, a particular form of inaccuracy 
is conspicuous by its absence from our considerable list of proved in- 
accuracies, it may be concluded, we think, not to have been widely opera- 
tive. It would be a different matter if the cases of the lower evidential 
class stood alone — if we were unable to present any cases where the 
percipient's identification of his impression with the particular person- 
ality of the agent had been established beyond dispute. But in face 
of the large number of those stronger instances, it would be unwarrantably 
violent to suppose that in all, or nearly all, the other cases where the per- 
cipient declares that the identification was clear and unmistakable, he is 
giving fictitious shape and colour to a purely undistinctive experience. 

But there is yet another reason for allowing this inferior evidence to 
stand for what it is worth. For even if we make very large allowance for 
inaccuracy, and suppose that in a certain number of these cases the visible 
or audible phantasm, afterwards described as recognised, was really un- 
recognised at the moment, the evidence for a telepathic production of it 
does not thereby vanish. If, indeed, a witness's mental or moral status 
were such that he might be supposed capable of giving retro- 


spective and objective distinctness to what was an utterly indefinite 
impression, with no external or sensory character at all, his testimony 
would, of course, be valueless ; simply because we could not assure our- 
selves that he had not had experiences of that sort daily, so that the 
coincidence with the real event would lose all significance. But in the 
case of a witness of fair intelligence, the point remains that the presence 
of a human being was suggested to his senses in a manner which was in 
his experience markedly unusual or unique, at the time that a human 
being at a distance with whom he was more or less closely connected, 
was in a markedly unusual or unique condition. By itself such evidence 
might fairly, perhaps, be regarded as too uncertain to support any hypo- 
thesis. But if a case for telepathy can be founded on the stronger cases, 
where the immediate reference of the impression to the agent is as much 
established as the fact of the impression itself, then we have no right to 
lay down as an immutable law of telepathic experience that such a refer- 
ence is indispensable. Recognition is beyond doubt the best of tests ; 
and in a vast majority of our cases we have the percipient's testimony, 
and in a very large number corroborative testimony as well, to the fact 
of recognition. But distinctness and unusualness in the experience are 
also evidential points. We have, indeed, a whole class of cases where the 
percipient has expressly stated that a phantasm which coincided with 
the supposed agent's death was unrecognised, and where, therefore, the 
distinctness and unusualness of the impression were the only grounds for 
paying any attention to the coincidence. Such cases may be far from 
proving telepathy ; yet if telepathy be a vera causa, it would be unscientific 
to leave them out of account. 

§ lo. So much for the evidence of the state of the agent, and of the 
experience of the percipient, regarded simply as events, of which we want 
to know (i) to what extent we can rely on the description that we receive 
of them ; (2) to what extent the presumption of a telepathic connection 
between them is affected by the sort of inaccuracies that may be revealed 
or surmised. The sketch that has been given is, of course, a mere outline. 
It must wait for further amplifications of detail till we come to examine 
the evidence itself. Meanwhile it may serve to prepare the reader's mind, 
and to indicate what special points to be on the look-out for. But of those 
four essential items of a case, as to which the opportunities and the effect 
of misrepresentation were to be specially considered, two still remain, 
namely, the precise times of the two items already discussed — of the 
agent's and the percipient's respective shares in the incident. It is clearly 
essential to a telepathic case that these times should approximately 
coincide ; and error in the assertion of this coincidence is a possibility 
requiring fully as much attention as error in the description of the two 

But here the reader may fairly ask where the line of error is to be 
drawn. Must the coincidence be exact to the moment ? And, if not, 
what degree of inexactness may be permitted before we cease to regard 
a case as supporting the telepathic hypothesis ? It is unfortunately not 
easy for the moment to give any satisfactory answer to this question. 
Two distinct questions are in fact involved. The first is a question of 


natural fact : What are the furthest limits of time within which it appears, 
on a review of the whole subject, that a single telepathic phenom^enon 
may really be included ? At what distance of time, from the death of an 
absent person, may a friend receive telepathic intimation of the fact ? 
The second question is one of interpretation and argument. It ^vill be a 
most important part of our task hereafter to estimate the probability 
that it was by chance, and not as cause and effect, that the two events 
occurred at no very great distance of time from one another. The 
wider the interval, the greater, of course, does this probability become ; 
in other words, the larger the scope that we give to " coincidences " 
which we are willing to regard as prima facie telepathic in origin, the 
greater is the chance that we sbaU be wrong in so regarding them. Now, 
unless some provisional limit were assigned to the interval which may 
separate the two events, it would be impossible to obtain numerical data 
for calculating what the force of the argument for chance really is, and 
how far the hypothesis of some cause beyond chance is justified. This point 
will be made clear in Chapter XIII. , which deals vnth " the theory of 
chance-coincidence " ; meanwhile it will be convenient to defer both 
these questions, and to make the following brief statement without dis- 
cussion or explanation. 

There is one class of cases which are not available for a numerical 
estimate at all — those, namely, where the agent's condition is not strictly 
limited in time ; for instance, where he is merely very ill, and no par- 
ticular crisis takes place at or near the time when the percipient's im- 
pression occurs. This indefiniteness is, of course, a serious evidential 
weakness. But in a vast majority of the cases to be brought forward, 
the event that befalls the agent is short and definite. If, then, the ex- 
perience of the percipient does not exactly coincide with that event, it 
must either follow or precede it. And, first, if it follows it ; then it will be 
convenient to limit the interval within which this must happen to 12 
hours. I may mention at once that in most of our cases the coincidence 
seems to have been very considerably closer than this. But in a few cases 
the 12 hours' limit has been reached ; and if we found that, though some 
error in evidence had made the coincidence appear to have been closer 
than it really was, ^^et after correction the 12 hours seemed not to have 
been over-passed, we should still treat the case as having a prima facie 
claim to be considered telepathic. Next as to the cases where the per- 
cipient's impression precedes some marked event or crisis in the existence 
of the other person concerned ; the qixestion will then be. What was that 
other person's condition at the actual time that the impression occurred ? 
If it was normal, we should not argue here for any connection between the 
experiences of the two parties. For instance, we should not treat as evi- 
dence for telepathy an impression, however striking, which preceded by 
an appreciable interval an accident or sudden catastrophe of any sort 
But it may happen that the percipient's impression faUs within a season 
in which the condition of the other party is distinctly abnormal — say a 
season of serious illness ; and that it likewise precedes by less than 12 
hours the crisis — usually death — with which that season closes. And 
these cases will not only have a prima facie claim to be considered tele, 
pathic, but will also admit of being used in a strict numerical estimate, 


§ II. To return now to the evidential question, it is really in the 
matter of dates, rather than facts, that the risk of an important mistake 
is greatest. In the first place, dates are hard things to remember : manj' 
persons who have a fairly accurate memory for facts which interest them 
have a poor memory for dates. This is a natural failing, and it is also 
one that may easily escape notice ; for in the vast majority of instances 
where a personal experience is afterwards recounted, the whole interest 
centres in the fact, and none at all in the date. But in examining the 
evidence for an alleged telepathic case, much more than ordinary human 
frailty in the matter of dates has to be considered. It is just here that 
the action of the various positive tendencies to error, above enumerated, 
is really most to be apprehended. Two unusual events — say the death 
of a friend at a distance, and the hearing of a voice which certainly sounded 
like his — have happened at no very great distance of time. The latter 
event recalls the former to the mind of the person who experienced it ; 
and on reflection he feels that the character of the one connects it in a 
certain way with the other. True, he has kept no record of the day and 
hour when he heard the voice ; or his friend may have died in South 
America, and no accurate report of the date of the occurrence may ever 
have reached England ; but the connection which has been surmised 
cannot but raise a presumption that the two events corresponded in 
time as well as in character. " Why, otherwise, should I have heard the 
voice at all ? " the person who heard it will argue : "I am not given to 
hearing phantasmal voices. I did not know how to account for it before ; 
but now I see my way to doing so." This train of thought being pursued, 
it will seem in a very short time that the two events must have been 
simultaneous ; and what can that naean but that they were simultaneous ? 
And the fact thus arrived at will remain the point of the story, as long 
as it continues to be told. In allowing his mind to act thus, it will be 
seen that the percipient has merely followed the easy and convenient 
course. There was something baffling and aimless in the occurrence of 
the phantasmal voice, without rhyme or reason, at a time when the hearer 
was in good health and not even thinking of his friend. Rhyme and 
reason — significance and coherence — are supplied by the hypothesis that 
his friend, finding death imminent, was thinking of him. It does not 
occur to him that this account of the matter is in itself harder to accept 
than the fact of a subjective auditory hallucination. To realise this would 
require a certain amount of definite psychological knowledge. Things 
are sufficiently explained to him if they seem to cohere in an evident way. 
Or if he is sensible that his version of the matter introduces or suggests a 
decided elemenb of the marvellous, still the marvel is of a sort which is 
a legitimate subject of human speculation, and with which it is interesting 
to have been in personal contact. And not only has his reason thus 
followed the line of least resistance ; his memory has also been relieved 
by the unity which he has given to its contents. It has now got a single 
and well-compacted story to carry, instead of two disconnected items. 
It has, so to speak, exchanged two silver pieces, of different coinages and 
doubtful ratio, for a single familiar florin. 

The above is no mere fancy sketch ; it represents what is really not 
unlikely to occur. When we were just now considering how far an honest 


and intelligent witness is likely to imagine afterwards that a passing 
impression which at the time was vague and unrecognised had really 
been distinct and recognised, it will be remembered that such a perversion 
seemed decidedly unlikely — tlaat we saw no ground for assuming that 
an error of that type had entered into anything like a majority of the 
cases where we have no conclusive evidence that it has not entered. But 
with the dates it is otherwise. We have received several illustrations of 
the liability of even first-hand witnesses to make times exactly coalesce 
without due proof of their having done so, or even in spite of proof that they 
did not do so. Having by a reasoning process of a vague kind come to the 
conclusion that the two events were simultaneous, they will be apt to note 
any items of facts or inference which tell in this direction, and not such as 
may tell in the other. An informant sometimes by his very accuracy 
reveals the attitude of mind which might easily produce inaccuracy in 
other cases. He will tell us that all that was proved was that the death 
fell in the same month as the impression ; but that it is " borne in on 
him " that it was at the same hour. A good many people upon whom 
such a conviction is " borne in " will treat that as if it were itself the 
evidence required. One sort of case in which the tendency in question 
has been specially evident is that where the death has taken place at a 
great distance from the percipient. The instinct of artistic perfection 
overshoots the mark, when a ship's log in the Indian Ocean shows that 
death took place at a quarter-past 3, and a clock on an English mantel- 
piece reveals that that is the very minute of the apparition. Telepathy, 
like electricity, may " annihilate space " ; but it will never make the time 
of day at two different longitudes the same. This particular error would 
not, it is true, completely vitiate the case from our point of view, since 
the 12 hours' interval would not have been exceeded ; but pro tanto it, 
of course, diminishes the credit of the witness. 

§ 12. Let us now examine the two dates separately, and see where the 
danger more particularly lies, and what tests and safeguards can be 
adopted. And first as to the date of the event that has befallen the 
agent. As we have seen, it is almost always first from the percipient's 
side that we hear of this event ; and to him the knowledge of it came as 
a piece of news, sometimes by word of mouth, sometimes in a letter or 
telegram, occasionally in some printed form. In very many cases the 
date would, of course, be part of the news. Now, if his own experience 
was impressive enough to have caused him real anxiety or curiosity, and 
if his recollection is clear that the news came almost immediately after- 
wards — say within a couple of days — and that the time of the two events 
was there and then compared, and found to coincide, the coincidence will 
then rest on something better, at any rate, than the mere memory of a 
date. It will depend on the memory that a certain unusual and probably 
painful state of mind received remarkable justification, and that this 
justification in turn produced another state of mind which was also of 
an unusual type. If there was really no such synchronism as is repre- 
sented, then not only the abstract fact of correspondence, but a distinct and 
interesting piece of mental experience must have been fictitiously imagined. 
Now, it may be said, I think, as a rule, that a fictitious imagination of 


this sort needs some little time to grow up ; that it is decidedly improbable 
that any case which is definitely recorded very soon after the event will 
have suffered this degree of misrepresentation. But a few years will give 
the imagination time to play very strange tricks. We have had one veiy 
notable proof of this, in a case where a curiously detailed vision of a dead 
man, which (so far as we can ascertain) must have followed the actual 
death by at least three months, was represented to us, after an interval 
of ten years, by the person who had seen it— a witness of undoubted 
integrity — as having occurred on the very night of the death. We may 
be right in regarding so complete a lapse of memoi-y on the part of an 
intelligent witness as exceptional ; but we should certainly not be justified 
in assuming that it is exceptional ; and no case of an;^'thing like that 
degree of remoteness can be i-elied on, without some evidence beyond the 
percipient's mere present recollection that the event which befell the agent 
took place at the time mentioned. The evidence may be of various sorts. 
If the exact date of the percipient's experience can be proved, then it is 
often possible to fix the other date as the same, by letters, diaries, or 
obituaries, or by tlie verbal testimony of some independent witness. If 
no such evidence is accessible, or even if the exact date of the percipient's 
experience is forgotten, it may still be possible to obtain corroboration of 
the coincidence from someone who was immediately cognisant of the 
percipient's experience, and who had independent means of ascertaining 
the further fact and of noting the connection at the time. But the absence 
of a written record of either event is, of course, a decidedly weak point. 

§ 13. But, on the whole, the danger that the closeness of the coincidence 
may be exaggerated depends rather on misstatement of the date of the 
percipient' s than of the agent's share in the alleged occurrence. Clearly 
the fact that some one has dievd or has had a serious accident, or has been 
placed in circumstances of some unusual sort, is likely to be known to 
more persons, and to be more frequently recorded in some permanent 
form, than the fact that some one has had, or says he has had, an odd 
hallucination. And clearly also, if one of the points is fixed, and the other, 
b}'' hasty assumption or defective memory, is moved up to it, the movable 
date is likely to be that of the event which has no ascertainable place in 
the world of objective fact. As a rule, it is at any rate possible at the time 
to obtain certainty as to the date of what has befallen the agent ; and 
therefore if the percipient has been struck by his experience and retains 
evidence of its date, either in writing or in the memory of others to whom 
he mentioned it, he will very- likely be prompted, when he hears of the 
other event, to assure himself as to what the degree of coincidence really 
was. But the converse case is very different. If the percipient does not 
record his experience at the time of its occurrence, even a v.-eek's interval 
may destroy the possibilit}^ of making sure what its exact date was ; and 
therefore, however certain the date of the other e\^ent may be, assurance 
as to the degree of coincidence will here be unattainable. It is often ex- 
pressly recognised as such by the percipient himself ; and then one can 
only regret that the importaaice of the class of facts — if facts indeed they 
are — has been so little realised that the simple measures which would have 
ensured accurate evidence have not been taken. But where the account 


given is one of accurate coincidence, we cannot be satisfied witiiout good 
evidence that the point was critically examined into at the time. It may, 
of course, happen that the percipient has a clear recollection that the 
coincidence was adequately made out at the time, although he can produce 
no documentary evidence which would establish ifc ; and if others confirm 
his memory in this respect, that is so far satisfactory. Such unwritten 
confirmation, however, will have little independent force, unless the 
person who gives it was made aware of the percipient's experience within 
a very short time of its occurrence. 

But though the danger here must be explicitly recognised, it is im- 
portant not to exaggerate its practical scope. The coincidence may have 
been reported as closer than it was ; but it may still, in a majority of 
cases, be fairly concluded to have fallen within the 12 hours' limit. As a 
rule, the news of what has befallen the agent arrives soon enough for not 
more than a space of two days to intervene between the percipient's 
knowledge of this event and the time when, to make the coincidence 
complete, his own experience must have taken place. We are not, there- 
fore, making a large demand on his memory ; we are only requiring that 
he shall remember that an experience, which he represents as remarkable, 
befell him, or did not befall him, on the day before yesterday. No doubt, 
after a lapse of years, the evidential value of what a person reports ceases 
to have a close relation to the knowledge of the facts which it seems pretty 
certain he must have had at the time. But the demands made at the time 
on the intelligence either of the percipient, or of anyone else who had the 
opportunit}^ of asking questions and forming conclusions, are so slight 
that we may fairly take contemporary written records of the matter, or 
even later verbal corroboration, as having a considerable claim to attention, 
even when the best evidence of all — evidence whose existence preceded 
the arrival of the news — is wanting. And it is important to notice that, 
while we have had several coincidences reported to us as having been close 
to the hour, which turned out, on further inquiry or examination of 
documents, to have been only close to the day, we have had few cases 
where a similar correction has proved that the 12 hours' limit was really 
overpassed.! A good many coincidences, no doubt, have been represented 
as extremely close, where no independent evidence on this point has been 
accessible, and closer inquiry has occasionally revealed that the assertion 
rested only on a guess. But wholly to neglect cases where the exactitude 
of the "coincidence is not brought within the 12 hours' limit would clearly 
be unreasonable, provided that — on the evidence — it is not likely that this 
limit was much exceeded, and not certain that it was exceeded at all. 
Such cases must, of course, be excluded from any numerical estimate 
based on precise data ; but they may fairly be allowed their own weight 
on the mind. 

§ 14. We see, then, that cases where the alleged correspondence of 
facts and coincidence of dates are sufficiently close to afford a prima facie 
presumption of telepathic action may present very various degrees of 
strength and weakness ; and it may be convenient to summarise the 

! [In a footnote Gurney describes eight. — Ed.] 


evidential conditions according to their value, in the following tabular 
form. (The words " the news " mean always the news of what has be- 
fallen the supposed agent.) 

A. Where the event which befell the agent, with its date, is recorded 
in printed notices, or contemporary documents which we have examined ; 
or is reported to us by the agent himself independently, or by some inde- 
pendent witnesses or witness ; and where — 

(i) The percipient (a) made a written record of his experience, 
with its date, at the time of its occurrence, which record we have either 
seen or otherwise ascertained to be still in existence ; or (/?) before 
the arrival of the news, mentioned his experience to one or more per- 
sons, by whom the fact that he so mentioned it is corroborated ; or 
(y) immediately adopted a special course of action on the strength 
of his experience, as is proved by external evidence, documentary or 

(2) The documentary evidence mentioned in (la) and (ly) is 
alleged to have existed, but has not been accessible to our inspec- 
tion ; or the experience is alleged to have been mentioned as in (i^), 
or the action taken on the strength of it to have been remarked as in 
(ly), but owing to death or other causes, the person or persons to 
whom the experience was mentioned, or by whom the action was 
remarked, can no longer corroborate the fact. 

This second class of cases is placed here for convenience, but 
should probably rank below the next class. At the same time the 
fact that the percipient's experience was noted in writing by him, or 
was communicated to another person, or was acted on, before the 
arrival of the news, is not one which is at all specially likely to be 
unconsciously invented by him afterwards. 

(3) The percipient did not (a) make any written record, nor {(i) 
make any verbal mention of his experience until after the arrival of 
the news, but then did one or both ; of wliich fact we have con- 

This class is of course, as a rule, decidedly inferior to the first 
class. At the same time, cases occur under it in which the news was 
so immediate that the fact of the coincidence could only be impugned 
by representing the whole story as an invention.^ 

(4) The immediate record or mention on the arrival of the news 
is alleged to have been made, but owing to loss of papers, death of 
friends, or other causes, cannot be confirmed. 

(5) The percipient alleges that he remarked the coincidence when 
he heard the news ; but no record or mention of the circumstance was 
made until some time afterwards. 

Such cases, of course, rapidly lose any value they may have as 
the time increases which separates the account from the incident. 
Still, sometimes we have been able to obtain the independent evidence 
of some one who heard an account previous to the present report to 

1 See, for instance, case 17, pp. 132-3. 


us ; or we have ourselves obtained two reports separated by a con- 
siderable interval. And where a comparison of accounts given at 
different times shows that they do not vary, this is to some extent an 
indication of accuracy. 

B. Where the percipient is our sole authority for the nature and date 
of the event which he alleges to have befallen the agent. 

In many of these cases, the percipient is also our sole authority 
for his own experience ; and the evidence under this head will then 
be weaker than in any of the above classes. But where we have 
independent testimony of the percipient's mention of the two events, 
and of their coincidence, soon after their occurrence — he having been 
at the time in such circumstances that he would naturally know the 
nature and date of what had befallen the agent — the case may rank 
as higher in value than some of those of Class A (5) . 

§ 15. The evidence which I have so far analysed is first-hand evidence 
— in the sense that the main account comes to us direct from the per- 
cipient. The present collection, however [i.e. that in the original edition], 
includes (in the Supplement) a certain number of second-hand narratives ; 
and it will be well, therefore, to consider briefly what are the best sorts of 
second-hand evidence, and what kinds of inaccuracy are most to be appre- 
hended in the transmission of telepathic history from mouth to mouth. 

There is one, and only one, sort of second-hand evidence which can on", 
the whole be placed on a par with first-hand ; namely, the evidence of a 
person who has been informed of the experience of the percipient while the 
latter was still unaware of the corresponding event ; and who has had 
equal opportunities with the percipient for learning the truth of that 
event, and confirming the coincidence. The second-hand witness's testi- 
mony in such a case is quite as likely to be accurate as the percipient's ; 
for though his impression of the actual details will no doubt be less vivid, 
yet on the other hand he will not be under the same temptation to ex- 
aggerate the force or strangeness of the impression in subsequent retro- 
spection. Specimens of this class have therefore been admitted to the 
body of the work, as well as to the Supplement. Putting this exceptional 
class aside, the value of second-hand evidence chiefly depends on the 
relation of the first narrator to the second. A second-hand account from 
a person only slightly acquainted with the original narrator is of very 
little value ; not only because it is probably the report of a story which 
has been only once heard, and that, perhaps, in a hurried or casual way ; 
but also because the less the reporter's sense of responsibility to his in- 
formant, the less also will be his sense of responsibility to the facts, and 
the greater the temptation to improve on the original. But we cannot 
so lightly dismiss the testimony of near relatives and close friends to a 
matter which they have heard the first-hand witness narrate more than 
once, or narrate in such a manner as convinced them that the alleged facts 
were to him realities, and had made a lasting impression on his mind. 
Here we at any rate have a chance of forming a judgment as to the 
character of the original authority ; we can make tolerably certain that 
what we hear was never the mere anecdote of a raconteur ; and we have 
grounds for assuming in our own informants a certain instinct of fidelity 
which may at any rate preserve their report from the errors of wilful care- 


lessness and exaggeration. It not infrequently happens, too, that we can 
obtain se-s-eral independent versions from several second-hand witnesses 
which may mutually confirm one another ; and contemporary documen- 
tary evidence may give further support to the case. 

[The author proceeds to discuss and illustrate at some length the risks 
of error in transmitted evidence. The discussion, though both instructive 
and interesting, is omitted here for the sake of brevity. — Ed.] 

It would, however, not be fair to leave this list of causes which diminish 
the amount of presentable second-hand evidence, without adding that of 
the more reliable sort of second-hand (no less than of first-hand) cases. 
A considerable number are withheld from publication from motives with 
which it is hard altogether to sympathise. Persons who have a really 
accurate knowledge of some incident in which a deceased relative has been 
concerned, and who— seeing that the incident did no dishonour to any one's 
head or heart — have no scruple in publishing it at casual dinner-parties, 
becom.e sometimes almost morbidly scrupulous when there is a question 
of making it available, even in an anonymous form, for a scientific purpose. 

Here I may close this preliminary survey of the possibilities of error 
which must be constantly kept in view in the investigation of alleged 
telepathic cases, and which must be either excluded by evidence or care- 
fully allowed for. Both the dangers and the safeguards will, of course, 
be better realised when we come to the details of particular cases. It 
does not seem necessary to give a similar synopsis of the evidential flaws 
and weaknesses which are not in any sense errors. Some of these may be 
apparent on the very face of the evidence ; as when the percipient ex- 
pressly states that his impression was of an undefined sort, or was of a 
sort which he had experienced on other occasions without the correspon- 
dence of any real event, or that the coincidence of dates, though close, 
was not exactly ascertained. Others may appear v/hen we take all the 
circtunstances into consideration, although the percipient may fail to 
admit them ; for instance, a person who is in decided anxiety about an 
absent relative or friend may be regarded as to some extent predisposed 
to subjective impressions which suggest his presence, so that the accidental 
coincidence of such an impression with some actual crisis that is appre- 
hended may be regarded as not violently improbable. All such topics, 
however, will find a more convenient place in the sequel. 

§ 1 6. And now with regard to the cases that have been included in 
the evidential part of the present work. A certain separation has been 
attempted. In the m.ain body of the book, no cases are given which are 
not first-hand, or of the particular second-hand sort which (as explained 
on p. 119) is on a par with the first-hand ' ; or in which the prima facie 
probability that the facts stated are substantially correct is not tolerably 
strong. But the Supplement includes a good many second-hand ac- 
counts- ; as well as first-hand accounts where the evidence, from lack of 

^ Cases 256, 257, are in part exceptions, but see remarks thereon. 

* We have seen that there is one sort of second-hand evidence which must rank 
as on a par with first-hand. On the same principle there is one sort of third- 
hand evidence which must rank as on a par with second-hand. A few third-hand 

accounts of this type have been admitted to the Supplement ; and one or two others 
by special exception. 


coiToboration or other causes, falls short of the standard previously 
attained. 1 Our principle in selecting cases for the Supplement has been 
to take only those which — supposing telepathy to be established as a fact 
in Nature — would reasonabl}^ be regarded as examples of it. Their 
existence adds force to the proof of telepath^^ ; but we should not have 
put them forward as an adequate proof by themselves. This separation, 
however, does not apportion the evidential weight of the two divisions 
with rigid precision. For, given a certain amount of assurance that the 
facts are correctly reported, the value of the facts in the argument for 
telepathy will vary according to the class to which they belong. There are 
strong classes and weak classes. Now the body of the work includes 
specimens of purely emotional impressions, and of dreams — classes which 
we shall find by their very nature to be weak ; and more weight might 
reasonably be attached to some case in the Supplement, even though less 
completely attested, if it belonged to the strongest class, which we shall 
find to be the class of waking \dsual phantasms. And even within the 
limits of a single class, it is impossible to evaluate the cases with exact- 
ness. A phantasm of sight or sound wliich does not at the moment suggest 
the appearance or voice of an absent friend, may still — if unique in the 
percipient's experience, and if the coincidence of time with the friend's 
death is exact — have about an equal claim to be considered telepathic 
with a distinctly recognised phantasm, the coincidence of which with the 
death (though it may have been exact) cannot with certainty be brought 
closer than three or four days. 

Then as regards the mere accuracy of the records — though it has been 
possible to draw up a sort of table of degrees, such a table, of course, 
affords no final criterion. It is a guide in the dissection of testimony ; it 
directs attention to important structural points ; but it takes no account 
of the living qualities, the character, training, and habits of thought of 
witnesses. We have included no cases where the witnesses were not, to 
the best of our belief, honest in intention, and possessed of sufficient in- 
telligence to be competent reporters of definite facts with which they had 
been closely connected. But the report, say, of a sceptical lawyer or a 
man of science, who had totally disbelieved in the whole class of phe- 
nomena until convinced by his own experience, is naturally stronger 
evidence than the report of a lady who, whether owing to natural pro- 
clivities or to want of scientific training, has no sense of any a priori 
objections to the telepathic hypothesis. The report of a person who has 
seen the phantasm of a friend at the time of his death, but considers that 
the coincidence may have been accidental, is stronger evidence than the 
report of a person who would regard such a supposition as irreverent. 
Each case must be judged on its merits, by reference to a considerable 
number of points ; and, as far as written testimony goes, the reader will 
have the same opportunities as we have had for forming an opinion. We 
have done our best to obtain corroborative evidence of all sorts, whether 
from private sources, from public notices, or from official records. We 
have often failed ; and these failures, and other evidential flaws, have 

^ There are, however, a few first-hand cases in the Supplement which would have 
found a place in the main body of the work (in substitution probably for some which 
now appear there), had they been received earlier. 


been brought into (I fear) wearisome prominence. In quotations, care 
has, of course, been taken to give the exact words of witnesses. The only 
exceptions are that (i) we have occasionally omitted reflections and other 
matter which formed no part of the evidence ; and (2) we have 
corrected a few obvious slips of writing, and introduced an occasional 
word for the sake of grammatical coherence, where the narrative has come 
to us piecemeal, or where the above-named omissions have been made. 
But in no case have we made the slightest alteration of meaning, or 
omitted anjrthing that could by any possibility be held to modify the 
account given. A few cases have been summarised, in whole or in 
part ; but here the form of the sentences will show that they are 
not quotations. Any word or phrase interpolated for other than gram- 
matical reasons is clearly distinguished by being placed mthin square 

One advantage, however, which we ourselves have had, cannot be 
communicated to our readers — namely, the increased power of judgment 
which a personal interview with the narrator gives. The effect of these 
interviews on our own minds has been on the whole distinctly favourable. 
They have greatly added to our confidence that what we are here pre- 
senting is the testimony of trustworthy and intelligent witnesses. And 
if the collection be taken as a whole, this seems to be a sufficient guarantee. 
It follows from the very nature of telepathic cases (as distinguished, say, 
from the alleged phenomena of " ghost-seeing " or of " Spiritualism ") 
that the evidence often in great measure, so to speak, makes itself — the 
agent's side in the matter being beyond dispute. Thus a valid case, as 
has been shown above, might perfectly well rest on the testimony of a 
person whose own interpretation of it was totally erroneous, and whose 
intelligence and memory were only adequate to reporting truthfully that 
he thought he saw so-and-so in his room yesterday or the day before. 
But we have naturally preferred to be on the safe side. We have, there- 
fore, excluded all narratives where, on personal acquaintance with the 
witnesses, we felt that we should be uneasy in confronting them with a 
critical cross-examiner ; and we have frequently thought it right to ex- 
clude cases, otherwise satisfactory, that depended on the reports of un- 
educated persons. Nor, I think, will the reader find much to suggest 
perversion of facts through superstitious a priori fancies. The greater 
part of our witnesses, as already stated, have had no special belief in the 
phenomena, except so far as they have themselves come in contact with 
them ; and even where their interest has been awakened, it has seldom 
been of a more intense kind than might naturally be excited by a remark- 
able passage of personal or family experience. They have not, for in- 
stance, been at all in the attitude towards the subject which is now ours, 
and which it is hoped that the reader may come to share. Thus even on 
this score, their common sense, in the ordinary straightforward meaning 
of the term, could hardly be impugned. Perhaps even so general a testi- 
mony to character as this is somewhat of an impertinence ; to give it 
precision in particular cases would, as a rule, be out of the question. 
But however little weight such an expression of opinion may have, the 
mere statement that we are, in the large majority of cases, personally 
acquainted with our witnesses, has a distinct bearing on the evidence ; 


for it practically implies that they gave us their account in such a way 
that their good faith is pledged to it. 

§ 17. But there is quantity as well as quality to consider : the basis 
of our demonstration needs to be broad as well as strong. We might have 
a few correspondences perfect in every detail, a few coincidences precise 
to the moment, established by evidence which was irresistible ; and pure 
accident might still be the true explanation of them. Later, however, it 
will be proved, as I think, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that that line 
cannot be taken in respect of the several hundreds of coincidences in- 
cluded in these volumes. And the majority of persons who regard the 
book from an evidential point of view, and who start with the legitimate 
a priori prejudice against the whole class of phenomena, will certainly 
take other ground. They will take exception to the evidence as it 
stands. They will not be concerned to deny that there would be an 
enormously strong case for the reality of telepathy, supposing the corre- 
spondences and coincidences to have occurred exactly as stated ; but 
they will take the ground that they did not so occur ; and will frame 
various hypotheses, according to which it should be possible that the 
evidence should be thus, and the facts otherwise. 

Now not only is the endeavour to frame such hypotheses legitimate : 
it has been throughout an -indispensable part of our own work. Even 
improbable hypotheses ought to be carefully considered ; for we have no 
desire to underrate the d priori improbability of our own hypotheses of 
telepathy. It is extremely difficult to compare the improbability of any 
particular combination of known conditions with the improbability of 
the existence of a hitherto unknown condition. But the point on which 
we desire to lay stress is the number of improbable hypotheses that will 
have to be propounded if the telepathic explanation is rejected. Of course, 
this point may be evaded by including all the hypotheses needed in a 
single sweeping assumption, as to the general untrustworthiness of human 
testimony. This mode of argument would be perfectly legitimate if we 
were presenting a collection of unsifted second and third hand stories ; 
but it will scarcely seem equally so in application to what we do present. 
The evidence (or at any rate a very large amount of it) is of a sort which 
merits attention, even from those who most fully share the views that 
I have endeavoured to express as to the chances of error in the records of 
unusual occurrences. It cannot be summarily dismissed ; if it is to be got 
rid of, it must be explained away in detail. And it is the continued process 
of attempts to explain away which may, we think, produce on others the 
same cumulative effect as it has produced on ourselves. The attempts 
have been made on the lines already sketched ; and so far as any reader 
agrees that the risks and vulnerable points have been carefully considered 
in the abstract, he may be willing provisionally to accept an assurance 
that a similar careful and rationally sceptical mode of examination has 
been applied to the concrete instances. The work is, no doubt, weari- 
some ; but there is no avoiding it, for anyone who wishes to form a fair 
independent opinion as to what the strength of the case for telepathy 
really is. The narratives are very various, and their force is derived from 
very various characteristics ; the endeavour to account for them without 


resorting to telepathy must, therefore, be carried through a considerable 
number of groups, before it produces its legitimate effect on the mind. 
That effect arises from the number and variety of the improbable sup- 
positions, now violent, now vague — contradictory of our experience of 
all sorts of human acts and human relations^that have to be made at 
every turn. Not only have we to assume such an extent of forgetfulness 
and inaccuracy, about simple and striking facts of the immediate past, as 
is totally unexampled in any other range of experience. Not only have 
we to assume that distressing or exciting news about another person 
produces a havoc in the memory which "has never been noted in connection 
with distress or excitement in any other form. We must leave this merely 
general ground, and make suppositions as detailed as the evidence itself. 
We must suppose that some people have a way of dating their letters in 
indifference to the calendar, or making entries in their diaries on the 
wrong page and never discovering the error ; and that whole families 
have been struck by the collective hallucination that one of their members 
had made a particular remark, the substance of which had never entered 
that member's head ; and that it is a recognised custom to write mournful 
letters about bereavements which have never occurred ; and that when 
A describes to a friend how he has distinctly heard the voice of B, it is not 
infrequently by a slip of the tongue for C ; and that when D says he is not 
subject to hallucinations of vision, it is through momentary forgetfulness 
of the fact that he has a spectral illusion once a week ; and that when a 
wife interrupts her husband's slumbers with words of distress or alarm, it 
is only her fun, or a sudden morbid craving for undeserved sympathy ; 
and that when people assert that they were in sound health, in good 
spirits, and wide awake, at a particular time which they had occasion to 
note, it is a safe conclusion that they were having a nightmare, or were the 
prostrate victims of nervous hypochondria. Every one of these improba- 
bilities is, perhaps, in itself a possibility ; but as the narratives drive us 
from one desperate expedient to another, when time after time we are 
compelled to own that deliberate falsification is less unlikely than the 
assumptions we are making, and then again when we submit the theory 
of deliberate falsification to the cumulative test, and see what is in- 
volved in the supposition that hundreds of persons of established charac- 
ter, known to us for the most part and unknown to one another, have 
simultaneously forined a plot to deceive us— there comes a point where 
the reason rebels. Common sense persists in recognising that when 
phenomena, which are united by a fundamental characteristic and have 
every appearance of forming a single natural group, are presented to be 
explained, an explanation which multiplies causes is improbable, and an 
explanation which multiplies improbable causes becomes, at a certain 
point, incredible. 

§ 1 8. I am aware that in its abstract form, and apart from actual study 
of the cases, this reasoning must be wholly unconvincing. But meanwhile 
the argument for the general trustworthiness of our evidence may be put 
in another and, perhaps, clearer ligl^t. Amid all their differences, the 
cases present one general characteristic — an unusual affection of one 
person, having no apparent relation to anything outside him except the 


unusual condition, otherwise unknown to him, of another person. It is 
this characteristic that gives them the appearance, as I have just said, of 
a true natural group. Now the full significance of these words m_ay easily 
escape notice. They have an evidential as well as a theoretic bearing. They 
involve, of course, the hypothesis that the facts, if truly stated, are prob- 
ably due to a single cause ; but they involve, further, a very strong 
argument that the facts are truly stated. Let us suppose, for the moment, 
that any amount of laxity of memory and of statement may be expected 
even from first-hand witnesses, belonging to the educated class. And let 
us ignore all the heterogeneous improbabilities which we were just now 
considering ; and assume that the mistakes mentioned, and others like 
them, may occur at any moment. "V^Tiat, then, is the likelihood that all 
these various causes— all these errors of inference, lapses of memory, and 
exaggerations and perversions of narration — will issue in a consistent body 
of evidence, presenting one well-defined type of phenomenon, free in 
every case from excrescences or inconsistent features and explicable, and 
completel)^ explicable, by one equallj^ well-defined hypothesis ? What 
is the likelihood that a number of narratives, which are assumed to have 
diverged in various ways from the actual facts, should thus converge to 
a single result ? Several hundreds of independent and first-hand re- 
porters have, wittingly or unwittingly, got loose from the truth, and are 
vv^ell started down the inclined plane of the marvellous. Yet all of them 
stop short at or within a given line — the line being the exact one up to 
v/hich a particular explanation, not of theirs but of ours, can be ex- 
tended, and beyond which it could not be extended. Tempting marvels 
lie further on — marvels which in the popular view are quite as likely to be 
true as the facts actually reported, and which the general traditions of 
the subject would connect with those facts. But our reporters one and 
all eschew them. To take, for instance, the group of cases which the 
reader will probably find to be the most interesting, as it is also the largest, 
in our collection — apparitions at the time of death. Why should not such 
apparitions hold prolonged converse with the waking friend ? Why 
should they not produce physical effects — shed tears on the pillow and 
make it wet, open the door and leave it open, or leave some tangible token 
of their presence ? It is surely noteworthy that we have not had to reject, 
on grounds like these, a single narrative which on other grounds would 
have been admitted. Have all our informants drawn an arbitrary line, 
and all drawn precisely the same arbitrary line, between the mistakes 
and exaggerations of which they tvill be guilty, and the mistakes and ex- 
aggerations of which they will not ? We might imagine them as travellers, 
ignorant of zoology, each of whom reports that he has landed on a strange 
shore, and has encountered a strange animal. Some of the travellers have 
been nearer the animal, and have had a better view of him than others, 
and their accounts vary in clearness ; but these accounts, though inde- 
pendently drawn up, all point to the same source ; they all present a 
consistent picture of the self-same animal, and, what is more, the picture 
is one which zoology can find no positive cause to distrust. We find in it 
none of the familiar features of myth or of untrained fancy ; the reports 
have not given wings to a quadruped, or horns and hoofs to a carnivor ; 
they contradict nothing that is known. Can we fairly suppose that this 


complete agreement, alike in what they contain and in what they do not 
contain, is the accidental result of a hundred disconnected mistakes ? 

It is most instructive, in this connection, to compare first-hand (and 
the better sort of second-hand) narratives with others. I have already 
spoken of the greater general sobriety of the first-hand evidence. I may 
now add that the suspiciously startling details which often characterise 
the more remote narratives are precisely of the sort which the telepathic 
hypothesis could by no possibility be made to cover. To wet the pillow 
or leave the door open would be quite an ordinary breach of manners in 
the popular " ghost," or the second-hand apparition of doubtful authority. 
I have mentioned the real dripping letter conveyed by the phantasmal 
midshipman. I may further recall the scar reported to have been left on 
the lady's wrist by the touch of the well-known " Bereaford " apparition ; 
and the wounds alleged to have been produced on the bodies of absent 
witches, by blows and sword thrusts directed to their " astral " appear- 
ances. No marvels in the least resembling these find any place in our 
first-hand records ; yet why should they not, if those records are funda- 
mentally untrustworthy ? The existence of such features in other narra- 
tives sufficiently shows how wide is the possible range of incidents, in 
stories where the ordinary limitations of communication between human 
beings are alleged to have been transcended. Of this wide field, the hypo- 
thesis of the action of mind on mind, which we are endeavouring to 
develop, covers only a single well-defined portion. By what fatality, if 
error is widely at work in the case of our first-hand evidence, do its results 
always fall inside and not outside this very limited area ? If our witnesses 
are assumed to sit loose to the facts which they have known, why should 
they bring their accounts into rigid (though purely accidental) conformity 
with a theory which they have not known ? 

§ 19. What I have here indicated is the general impression produced 
by the evidence in our own minds. In our view, the reality of telepathy 
(even apart from a consideration of the experimental evidence) may be 
not unreasonably taken as proved. Having formed this view, we are 
bound to state it ; but we expressly refrain from putting it forward 
dogmatically, and from saying that to reject it would argue want of 
candour or intelligence. We hold that, in such a matter, it is idle to 
attempt to define the line of complete proof ; and the proof given — if 
it be one — is far from being of an kclatant or overwhelming sort. To those 
who do not realise the strength of the a priori presumption against it, it 
may easily look more overwhelming than it is. To others, again, it may 
appear that, on the hypothesis that the faculty has acted as widely as 
we have supposed, the highest evidential standard ought to have been 
reached in a larger number of cases. To us it rather seems that the evi- 
dence that we find is just about what might have been expected. We see 
nothing in the mere existence of telepathy that would tend to make re- 
served people mention strange experiences, or to make careless or busy 
people keep conscientious diaries — or generallj^ that would lead the 
persons immediately connected with a telepathic case, in which their 
emotions may be deeply involved, to act with a single eye to producing a 
clinching piece of evidence for the future benefit of critical psychological 


inquirers. It would, of course, be useless for us to urge that evidence 
which falls short of the best is still as good as can be expected, unless we 
were able to present a certain nucleus of fairly conclusive cases, and this 
we think we can do. But if the proof is held to demand more cases of the 
highest evidential quality, we must trust to time for them. The ideal 
collection would, of course, be one where every independent instance 
should be so evidentially complete that it must be either (i) telepathic, 
or (2) a purely accidental coincidence of a most striking kind, or (3) the 
result of a fraudulent conspiracy to deceive, in which several persons of 
good character and reputation have taken part. In our view, this point 
has been reached in a sufficient number of the examples here given to 
exclude the second and third of these alternatives ; but these examples 
constitute only a very small minority compared with the mass of cases 
which are merely confirmatory — strongly confirmatory, as we think, but 
still confirmatory only and not crucial. And the collection so far falls 
short of the ideal. 

In saying, then, that telepathy may not unreasonably be taken as 
proved, I do not wish for a moment to imply that the proof which we give 
is the one which we should eventually desire to see given. To no reader, 
we think, will the various imperfections and weak spots of our case be 
more patent than they have been to ourselves. Some of these are beyond 
remedy — as the absence of contemporary documents. Others may 
possibly be remedied at a later stage — for instance, the suppression of 
names. 1 It has been impossible to bring home to all our informants that 
where a person refuses to a phenomenon, belonging to a certain class, the 
direct testimony which he would give, if needful, to any other sort of 
personal experience, the world is sure to take the view that he lacks that 
complete assurance of the reality of the experience which alone can make 
his evidence worthy of serious attention. This is not always just ; since 
the reason why he suppresses his name may be, not that he doubts the 
truth of his evidence, but that he regards the truth in this particular 
department of Nature as something disgraceful or uncanny ; or it may 
be mere fear of ridicule, or a shrinking from any form of publicity. But 
meanv/hile the defect must not be extenuated. Even minor points may de- 
tract from the businesslike look of the work. Informants whose evidence is 
otherwise satisfactory sometimes feel it-a sort of mysterious duty to throw 

a veil over something — if it is only to put C for Clapham. A dash is 

the last refuge of the occult. We must not be held to be blind to these 
blots because we have printed the evidence in which they occur. But the 
case, as it stands, seemed worth presenting, and the time for presenting 
it seemed to have arrived. Even if it be weaker than we think it, there 
is the future as well as the past to think of. By far the greater part of the 
telepathic evidence, even of the last twenty years, has undoubtedly 
perished, for all scientific purposes ; we want the account for the next 
twenty years to be different. But it is only by a decided change in the 

1 The suppressed names have in all cases [with seven exceptions in the Supple- 
ment as explained in Gurney's Additions and Corrections — Ed.] been given to us in 
confidence; and in some instances with permission to mention them to any persons 
who have any bond fide interest in the subject. Purely anonymous cases can of 
course have no weight at all. 


attitude of the public mind towards the subject that the passing phe- 
nomena can be caught and fixed ; and it is only by a wider knowledge of 
what there already is to know that this change can come about. Thus 
our best chance of a more satisfactory harvest hereafter is to exhibit our 
sheaf of gleanings now. If telepathy is a reality, examples of it may be 
trusted to go on occurring ; and with the increase of intelligent interest 
in psychical research we may hope that the collection and verification of 
good first-hand evidence will gradually become easier, and that the neces- 
sity of careful contemporary records, and of complete attestation, will be 
more widely perceived. 

§ 20. Meanwhile it maj' be just worth while to forestall an objection 
— which, as it has been made before, may be made again — -to the argument 
from numbers. It has been urged that no accumulation of instances can 
make up a solid case, if no individual instance can be absolutely certified 
as free from flaw. But the different items of inductive proof are, of course, 
not like the links of a deductive chain. The true metaphor is the sticks 
and the faggot ; and our right to treat any particular case as a stick 
depends, not on its being so flawlessly strong, as evidence for our hypothesis, 
that no other hypothesis can possibly be entertained with regard to it, but 
the much humbler fact that any other hypothesis involves the assumption 
of something in itself improbable. Third-hand ghost-stories, and the ordinary 
examples of popular superstitions, have no claim to be regarded as sticks 
at all, since the rejection of the popular explanation of them involves no 
improbable assumptions of any kind ; at best they are dry reeds, and no 
multiplication of their number could ever make a respectable faggot. 
But in every one of the exa.mples on which we rest the telepathic hypo- 
thesis, the rejection of that hypothesis does, as I have pointed out, involve 
the assumption of something in itself improbable ; and every such 
example adds to the cumulative force of the argument for telepathy. The 
multiplication of such examples, therefore, makes a faggot of ever-increas- 
ing solidity. 

When made explicit, this seems too plain to be denied ; but an ex- 
treme case may perhaps make the point even clearer. If, since the world 
began, nobody had ever died without a phantasm of him appearing to 
one or more of his friends, the joint occurrence of the two events would 
have been a piece of universally recognised knowledge ; of the cause of 
which we should to this day possibly not know more, and could not possi- 
bly know less, than we know of the cause of gravitation. Nor, if the 
attestation had been forthcoming in the case of only half the deaths, 
would its significance have been much more likely to be disputed ; nor 
if it had been forthcoming in the case of a quarter, or a tenth, or even a 
hundredth of the number. But those who admit this, practically admit 
that there is a conceivable number of well-attested cases which they 
would regard as conclusive evidence of telepathy. We may ask them, 
then, to name their number ; and if they do so, we may not unreasonably 
proceed to inquire the grounds of their selection. A ^vriter on the subject 
lately named 5000 as the mark ; but can he make his reasons explicit for 
considering 5000 as conclusive, and 4000, or even 1000, as inconclusive ? 
In course of time we hope that his minimum may be reached ; but any 


limit must be to a great extent arbitrary. We shall be content if impartial 
readers, who do not feel convinced that an adequate inductive proof has 
been attained, are yet brought to see that our object and method are 
scientifically defensible ; while we, on our side, fully admit that the 
adequacy of the present collection does not admit of demonstration, and 
are perfectly willing that it should be regarded as only a first imperfect 
instalment of what is needed. 

§ 21. Perhaps, after all, the differences of instinct as to what really is 
needed may be considerably less than at first sight appears. For we have 
not been able to regard the alleged phenomena in the completely de- 
tached fashion which most of those who consider them naturally adopt. 
We are unable to determine how far the impression on our own minds of 
the evidence for spontaneous telepathy has been dependent on our con- 
viction of the genuineness of cognate experimental cases. These latter 
being for the most part trivial, recent, and little known, it is not surprising 
that comparatively few persons should have considered them, and that 
still fewer should have grasped their bearing on the spontaneous cases. 
But to anyone who accepts the experimental results, the d priori pre- 
sumption against other forms of supersensuous communication can hardly 
retain its former aspect. The presumption is diminished — the hospitality 
of the mind to such phenomena is increased — in a degree which is none 
the less important that it does not admit of calculation. A further step 
of about equal importance is made when we advance to the better-evi- 
denced of the transitional cases ; though here again the effect on our own 
minds, due to our knowledge of the persons concerned, cannot be imparted 
to others. Attention has been duly drawn to the difficulty of embracing 
these several classes in a common physical conception ; but on psycho- 
logical ground we cannot doubt that we are justified (provisionally at any 
rate) in regarding them as continuous. Remembering the existence of 
the transitional class, we may regard the extremes as not more 
remote from one another than the electrical phenomena of the cat's coat 
from those of the firmament. Electricity, indeed, affords in this way a 
singularly close parallel to telepathy. " The spontaneous apparitions of 
the dying " (I quote Mr. Myers' words) " may stand for the lightning ; 
while the ancient observations on the attraction of amber for straw may 
fairly be paralleled by our modest experiments with cards and diagrams. 
The spontaneous phenomena, on the one hand, have been observed in 
every age, but observed with mere terror and bewilderment. And, on the 
other hand, candid friends have expressed surprise at our taking a serious 
interest in getting a rude picture from one person's mind into another, or 
proving that ginger may be hot in the mouth by the effect of unconscious 
S5mipathy alone. Yet we hold that these trivial cases of community of 
sensation are the germinal indications of a far-reaching force, whose 
higher manifestations may outshine these as the lightning outshines the 
sparks on Puss's back. We hold that the lowest telepathic manifestations 
may be used to explain and corroborate the highest." Their conditions 
differ widely ; so widely, indeed, as to supply indirectly an argument for 
the genuineness of the facts, since totally distinct and independent hypo- 
theses^that of collusion in the one case, and of forgetfulness or exaggeration 


in the other — would be needed to refute them. Yet, with all this difference 
of conditions, when we compare the facts of either class with any facts which 
the accepted psychology includes, we cannot help recognising the great 
common characteristic — a supersensuous influence of mind on mind — as 
a true generic bond. Where that characteristic is found, there we have a 
natural group of phenomena which differ far more fundamentally from all 
other known phenomena than they can possibly differ among themselves. 
Their unity is found in contrast. Till more is known of their causes, it 
may be impossible for science to establish their inner relationships, just 
as it is impossible to establish the degrees of affinity between casually 
selected members of a single human community. But they draw together, 
so to speak, on the field of science, even as men of one race draw together 
when cast among an alien population. 



§ I. We now come to the actual evidence for spontaneous telepathy. As 
has been explained, the proof is cumulative, and its strength can only be 
truly estimated by a patient study of a very large mass of testimony. But 
to wade through a number of the cases is far from an attractive task. 
They are very unexciting — monotonous amid all their variety — as different 
from the Mysteries of Udolpho as from the dignified reports of a learned 
society, and far more likely to provoke slumber in the course of perusal 
than to banish it afterwards. And for the convenience of those who desire 
neither to toil nor to sleep, it will be well to disregard logical arrangements 
and to present at once a few preliminary samples. This chapter, therefore, 
will include a small batch of narratives which may serve as types of the 
different classes of telepathic phenomena, while further illustrating various 
important evidential points. At the present stage it will, no doubt, be 
open to anyone who accepts the facts in these cases as essentially correct 
to regard every one of the coincidences as accidental. The reasoning that 
will prevent this conclusion must still be taken on trust ; it could not be 
given now without the concrete illustrations till the reader 
would be weary of waiting for them. Nor would it be profitable at this 
place to enter fully into the principles of the classification, which can only 
be made clear in connection with the evidence. I will therefore sketch 
here the main headings, without comment, trusting to the further de- 
velopment of the work to justify the arrangement adopted. 

We find our most distinct line of classification in the nature of the 
percipient's impression. This at once divides the cases into two great 
families — those (A) where the impression is sensory and externalised, and 
those (B) where it is not sensory or externalised. In the first division the 
experience is a percept or quasi-percept — something which the person 
seems to see, hear, or feel, and which he instinctively refers to the outer 
world. In the second division, the impression is of an inward or ideal 
kind — either a mental image, or an emotion, or a mere blind impulse 
towards some sort of action. There is also a small group of cases (C 
which it is not easy to assign to either division — those, namely, where 
the experience of the percipient is sensory, without being an external- 
seeming affection of sight, hearing, or touch — for instance, a physical 
feeling of illness or malaise. This small group will be most conveniently 
treated with the emotional division, into which it shades. Further, each 
of these divisions is represented in sleeping as well as in waking life, so that 
dreams form a comprehensive class (D) of their own ; and the externalised 



division is also strongly represented in a region of experience which is on 
the borderland (E) between complete sleep and complete normal wakeful- 
ness. Lastly, there are two peculiarities attaching to certain cases in all 
or nearly all the above divisions, which are of sufficient importance to 
form the basis of two separate classes. The first of these is the reciprocal 
class (F), where each of the persons concerned seems to exercise a tele- 
pathic influence on the other ; and the second is the collective class (G), 
where more percipients than one take part in a single telepathic incident. 

§ 2. Now the logical starting-point for the following inquiry will 
naturally be found in the cases which present most analogy to the results 
of experimental thought-transference. All those results, it will be re- 
membered, were of the non-externalised type. I shall therefore start with 
inward impressions, ideal and emotional, and shall advance, through 
dreams — where each of us has, so to speak, an outer as well as an inner 
world of his own — to the " borderland " and waking impressions which 
seem to fall on the senses in an objective way from the outer world that is 
common to us all. 

But though the impressions received by the percipient in the experi- 
mental cases had no external quality, a good many of them were distinctly 
sensory — one important branch being transference of pains. And if the 
parallel between experimental and spontaneous effects be a just one, we 
might fairly expect to find cases where a localised pain has been similarly 
transferred from one person to another at a distance. I will open this pre- 
liminary batch of narratives with just such a case, the simplest possible 
specimen ®f group C, and as pure an instance of transference of sensation, 
unattended by any idea or image, as can well be conceived. The parties 
concerned are Mr. Arthur Severn, the distinguished landscape-painter, 
and his wife ; and the narrative was obtained through the kindness of 
Mr. Ruskin. Mrs. Severn says : — 

" Brantwood, Coniston. 

" October 27th, 1883. 

(17) "I woke up with a start, feeling I had had a hard blow on my 
mouth, and with a distinct sense that I had been cut, and was bleeding 
under my upper lip, and seized my pocket-handkerchief, and held it (in a 
little pushed lump) to the part, as I sat up in bed, and after a few seconds, 
when I removed it, I was astonished not to see any blood, and only then 
realised it was impossible anything could have struck me there, as I lay 
fast asleep in bed, and so I thought it was only a dream ! — but I looked at 
my watch, and saw it was seven, and finding Arthur (my husband) was 
not in the room, I concluded (rightly) that he must have gone out on the 
lake for an early sail, as it was so fine. 

" I then fell asleep. At breakfast (half -past nine), Arthur came in 
rather late, and I noticed he rather purposely sat farther away from me 
than usual, and every now and then put his pocket-handkerchief furtively 
up to his lip, in the very way I had done. I said, ' Arthur, why are you 
doing that ? ' and added a little anxiously, ' I know you have hurt your- 
self ! but I'll tell you why afterwards.' He said, ' Well, when I was 
sailing a sudden squall came, throwing the tiller suddenly round, and it 
struck me a bad blow in the mouth, under the upper lip, and it has been 
bleeding a good deal and won't stop.' I then said, ' Have you any idea 


what o'clock it was when it happened ? ' and he answered, ' It must have 
been about seven.' 

" I then told what had happened to me, much to his surprise, and all 
who were with us at breakfast. 

" It happened here about three years ago at Brantwood, to me. 

" Joan R. Severn." 

In reply to inquiries Mrs. Severn writes : — 

" There was no doubt about my starting up in bed wide awake, as I 
stuffed my pocket-handkerchief into my mouth, and held it pressed under 
my upper lip for some time before removing it to ' see the blood,' — and 
was much surprised that there was none. Some little time afterwards I 
fell asleep again. I believe that when I got up, an hour afterwards, the 
impression was still vividly in my mind, and that as I was dressing I did 
look under my lip to see if there was any mark." 

Mr. Severn's account, dated November 15th, 1883, is as follows : — 

" Early one summer morning, I got up intending to go and sail on the 
lake ; whether my wife heard me going out of the room I don't know ; she 
probably did, and in a half-dreamy state knew where I was going. 

" When I got down to the water I found it calm, like a mirror, and 
remember thinking it quite a shame to disturb the wonderful reflections of 
the opposite shore. However, I soon got afloat, and as there was no wind, 
contented myself with pulling up my sails to dry, and putting my boat in 
order. Soon some slight air came, and I was able to sail about a mile 
below Brantwood, then the wind dropped, and I was left becalmed for 
half an hour or so, when, on looking up to the head of the lake, I saw a 
dark blue line on the water. At first I couldn't make it out, but soon saw 
that it must be small waves caused by a strong wind coming. I got my 
boat as ready as I could , in the short time, to receive this gust, but some- 
how or other she was taken aback, and seemed to spin round when the 
wind struck her, and in getting out of the way of the boom I got my head 
in the way of the tiller, which also swung round and gave me a nasty blow 
in the mouth, cutting my lip rather badly, and having become loose in the 
rudder it came out and went overboard. With my mouth bleeding, the 
mainsheet more or less round my neck, and the tiller gone, and the boat 
in confusion, I could not help smiling to think how suddenly I had been 
humbled almost to a wreck, just when I thought I was going to be so 
clever ! However, I soon managed to get my tiller, and, with plenty of 
wind, tacked back to Brantwood, and, making my boat snug in the harbour, 
walked up to the house, anxious of course to hide as much as possible what 
had happened to my mouth, and, getting anotner handkerchief, walked 
into the breakfast-roorn, and managed to say som-ething about having been 
out early. In an instant my wife said, ' You don't mean to say you have 
hurt your mouth ? ' or words to that effect. I then explained what had 
happened, and was surprised to see some extra interest on her face, and 
still more surprised when she told me she had started out of her sleep 
thinking she had received a blow in the mouth ! and that it was a few 
minutes past seven o'clock, and wondered if my accident had happened 
at the same time ; but as I had no watch with me I couldn't tell, though 
on comparing notes, it certainly looked as if it had been about the same 
time. . " Arthur Severn." 

Considering what a vivid thing pain often is, it might seem likely that 
this form of telepathy, if it exists, would be comparatively common, in 


comparison with the more ideal or intellectual forms wliich are connected 
with the higher senses. This, however, is not so. It is conceivable, of 
course, that instances occur which go unnoticed. For, apart from injury, 
even a sharp pain is soon forgotten ; and unless the copy reproduced the 
original with excruciating fidelity, a sudden pang might be referred to 
some ordinary cause, and the coincidence would never be noted. We, 
however, can only go by what is noted. I mentioned that even in ex- 
perimental trials the phenomenon has been little observed except with 
hypnotised " subjects " ; and on the evidence we must allow its spon- 
taneous appearance to be even rarer. The stock instance is that of the 
brothers, Louis and Charles Blanc, the latter of whom professed to have 
experienced a strong physical shock at the time that his brother was felled 
in the streets of Paris by (as was supposed) some Bonapartist bully. But 
this is a third-hand story at best ; and the above is our only first-hand 
instance where the pain was of an unusual kind, and was very exactly 
localised. It is specially for cases of this sort — most interesting to science, 
but with neither pathos nor dignity to keep them alive — that the chance 
of preservation will, we trust, be improved by the existence of a classified 
collection, where they may at once find their proper place. 

What has been said of pains applies, mutatis mutandis, to all affections 
of the lower senses. In the first place, it is the exception and not the rule 
for the spontaneous transferences to reproduce in the percipient the exact 
sensation of the agent (p. 92) ; and, in the second place, such reproduc- 
tion (or at any rate the evidence for it) seems almost wholly confined to 
the higher senses of sight and hearing. Thus, though we found that trans- 
ference of tastes had been a very successful branch of the experimental 
work, we have no precisely analogous record in the spontaneous class. 
The nearest approach is a case which concerned the sense of smell, but 
where there was no direct transference of sensation as such. The case is, 
however, worth quoting here on another ground, as illustrating one of the 
evidential points of the last chapter — namely, that the strength of any 
evidence, in the sense of the assurance which it produces that the facts are 
correctly reported, is a very different thing from its strength as a contribu- 
tion to the proof of telepathy. Thus, no one probably will care to dispute 
the facts in the following narrative ; but the coincidence recorded is little, 
if at all, more striking than most of us occasionally encounter ; and 
recourse to the telepathic explanation can only be justified by our know- 
ledge that the two persons concerned have, on other occasions, given very 
much more conclusive signs of their power of supersensuous communica- 
tion.! The Rev. P. H. Newnliam, of Maker Vicarage, Devonport, writes 
to us : — 

" January 26th, 1885. 

(18) "In March, 1861, I was living at Houghton, Hants. My wife 
was at the time confined to the house, by delicacy of the lungs. One day, 
walking through a lane, I found the first wild violets of the spring, and 
took them home to her. 

^ See pp. 50-7. Mr. Newnhara has further told U3 that coincidences of thought 
of a more or less striking kind occur to himself and his wife as matters of daily experi- 
ence. But to differentiate these from the numerous domestic cases wbich pure 
accident will account for (Chap, vi., § 1), a written record would have to be accurately 
kept from day to daj'. 


" Early in April I was attacked with a dangerous illness ; and in June 
left the place. I never told my wife exactly where I found the violets, 
nor, for the reasons explained, did I ever walk with her past the place 
where they grew, for many years. 

" In November, 1873, we were staying with friends at Houghton ; and 
myself and wife took a walk up the lane in question. As we passed by 
the place, the recollection of those early violets of I2| years ago flashed 
upon my mind. At the usual interval of some 20 or 30 seconds my wife 
remarked, ' It's very curious, but if it were not impossible, I should declare 
that I could smell violets in the hedge.' 

" I had not spoken, or made any gesture or movement of any kind, to 
indicate what I was thinking of. Neither had my memory called up the 
perfume. All that I thought of was the exact locality on the hedge bank ; 
my memory being exceedingly minute for locality." 

Mr. Newnham's residence at Houghton lasted only a few months, and 
with the help of a diary he can account for nearly every day's walking and 
work. " My impression is," he says, " that this was the first and only 
time that I explored this particular ' drive ' ; and I feel certain that Mrs. 
Newnham never saw the spot at all until November, 1873. The hedges had 
then been grubbed, and no violets grew there." 

The following is Mrs. Newnham's account : — 

" May 28th, 1885. 

" I perfectly remember our walking one day in November, 1873, at 
Houghton, and suddenly finding so strong a scent of violets in the air that 
I remarked to my husband, ' If it were not so utterly impossible, I should 
declare I smelt violets ! ' Mr. Newnham then reminded me of his bringing 
me the first violets in the spring of 1861, and told me that this was just 
about the spot where he had found them. I had quite forgotten the 
circumstance till thus reminded." 

§ 3. We may now pass to illustrations of Class B — the class of ideal 
and emotional impressions. The following is a well-attested case of the 
transference of an idea. It was sent to us, in 1884, by our friend, the Rev, 
J. A. Macdonald, who wrote : — 

" 19, Heywood Street, Cheetham, Manchester. 

(19) " When I was in Liverpool, in 1872, I heard from my friend, the 
late Rev. W. W. Stamp, D.D., a remarkable story of the faculty of second 
sight possessed by the Rev. John Drake, of Arbroath, in Scotland. I 
visited Arbroath in 1874, and recounted to Mr. Drake the story of Dr. 
Stamp, which Mr. Drake assented to as correct, and he called his faculty 
' clairvoyance.' Subsequently, in 18S1, 1 had the facts particularly verified 
by Mrs. Hutcheon, who was herself the subject of this clairvoyance of Mr. 

" When the Rev. John Drake was minister of the Wesleyan Church at 
Aberdeen, Miss Jessie Wilson, the daughter of one of the principal lay 
office bearers in that church, sailed for India, to join the Rev. John 
Hutcheon, M.A., then stationed as a missionarj' at Bangalore, to whom she 
was under engagement to be married. Mr. Drake, one morning, came 
down to Mr. Wilson's place of business and said, ' Mr. Wilson, I am happy 
to be able to inform you that Jessie has had a pleasant voyage, and is now 
safely arrived in India.' i\Ir. Wilson said, ' How do you know that, Mr. 
Drake ? ' to which Mr. Drake replied, ' I saw it.' ' But,' said i\Ir. Wilson, 
' it cannot be, for it is a fortnight too soon. The vessel has never made 


the voyage within a fortnight of the time it is now since Jessie sailed.' 
To this Mr. Drake replied : ' Now you jot it down in your book that John 
Drake called this morning, and told you that Jessie has arrived in India 
this morning after a pleasant voyage.' Mr. Wilson accordingly made the 
entry, which Mrs. Hutcheon assures me she saw, when she returned home, 
and that it ran thus : ' Mr. Drake. Jessie arrived India morning of June 
5th, i860.' This turned out to have been literally the case. The ship had 
fair winds all the way, and made a quicker passage by a fortnight than 
ever she had made before." 

The above account was sent by Mr. Macdonald to Mr. Drake for 
verification, and the following reply was received from the Rev. Crawshaw 
Hargreaves, of the Wesleyan Manse, Arbroath : — 

" April 29th, 1885. 

" My Dear Sir, — Mr. Drake is sorry your communication of the 2nd 
inst. has been so long unanswered ; but two days after receiving it he had 
a paralytic seizure, which has not only confined him to bed, but taken from 
him the use of one side. 

" He now desires me to answer your inquiries, and to say that the 
account, which you enclosed and which he now returns to you, is correct, 
except that he has no recollection of ever calling it ' clairvoyance.' It was 
neither a 'dream,' nor a 'vision,' but an impression that he received 
between the hours of 8 and 10 in the morning, when his mind was as clear 
as ever it was, an impression which he believes was given him by God for 
the comfort of the family. Moreover this impression was so clear and 
satisfactory to himself that when Mr. Wilson said, ' It cannot be,' Mr. 
Drake replied, ' You jot it down,' as warmly as if his statement of any 
ordinary circumstances had been doubted by a friend. 

" Mr. Drake hopes these particulars will be enougli for your purpose. — 
Believe me, dear sir, yours very truly, " C. Hargreaves." 

The following is Mrs. Hutcheon's account of the incident, given quite 
independently : — 

" Weston-super-Mare. 

" February 20th, 1885. 

" The facts are simply these. I sailed for India on March 3rd, i860, 
in the ' Earl of Hardwicke,' a good, but slow, sailing vessel. About 16 
weeks were usually allowed for the voyage, so that we were not due in 
Madras till about the middle of June. Our voyage, however, being an 
uncommonly rapid one, we cast anchor in the roads of Madras on the 
morning of June 5th, taking our friends there quite by surprise. 

" On this same morning, my former pastor, an able and much esteemed 
Wesleyan minister, called on my father at an unusually early hour, when 
the following conversation passed : — 

" ' Why, Mr. D., what takes j^-ou abroad at this early hour ? ' 

" ' I have come to bring you good nev/s, Mr. W. Your daughter Jessie 
has reached India this morning, safe and well.' 

" ' That would indeed be good news, if we could believe it ; but you 
forget that the ship is not due at Madras before the middle of June. Besides, 
how could you get to know that ? ' 

" ' Such, however, is the fact,' replied Mr. D., and, seeing my father's 
incredulous look, he added : ' You do not believe what I say, Mr. W., but 
just take a note of this date.' 

" To satisfy him, my father wrote in his memo, book : ' Rev. J. D. and 
Jessie. Tuesday, 5th June, i860.' 


" In due time, tidings confirming Mr. D.'s statement arrived, greatly to 
the astonishment of my friends. He, however, manifested no surprise, but 
simply remarked, ' Had I not known it for a fact, I certainly should not 
have told you of it.' 

" These particulars I received by letter at the time, and on our return 
home 7 jj-ears later, we heard it from my father's own lips. He is no longer 
with us, but the above are the plain facts as he gave them, and the little 
memo, in his handwriting, which he gave me as a curiosit3^ lies before 
me now. ^ " Jessie Hutcheon." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Hutcheon adds : — 

" March 23rd. 

" I felt inclined to smile at the idea that I could possibly be mistaken 
as to a date so memorable in my life's history, and immediately preceding 
my marriage. However, to render assurance doubly sure, I have referred 
to both my husband's diary and my own, in each of which my landing in 
India on the 5th of June has an important place. 

" The entry made b^^ my husband is as follows : ' N.B. — 5th June, 
i860 ; a memorable daj- ! The ' Hardwdcke ' has arrived. What a quick 
voyage ! Miss Wilson and mission party well.' " 

[Mr. Macdonald tells us that he believes Mr. Drake had many such 
experiences, but that he found him so reticent that he despaired of getting 
an account of them from him. And Mr. Drake's death has now made the 
attempt impossible.] 

As regards the facts here, the narrative will probably be accepted as 
trustworthy. As regards the inference that may be drawn, the case is 
eminently of a sort where the character of the professing percipient (in 
other points than the mere desire to be truthful) ought to be taken into 
account. From a person " given to little surprises," or who posed as a 
diviner if one out of a hundred guesses liit the mark, the evidence would 
deserve no attention ; from a person of grave and reticent character, it 
is at any rate worthy of careful record. 

In the last example, the idea apparently transferred was of a somewhat 
abstract kind — the impression of a mere event, without any concrete 
imagery. But the ideal class includes many instances of a distinctly 
pictorial kind, where a scene is as clearly presented to the inward eye as 
the image of a card or diagram in some of our experimental cases. The 
following account of a vivid mental picture of this sort was received from 
Mrs. Bettany, of 2, Eckington Villas, Ashbourne Grove, Dulwich. 

" November, 1884. 

{20) " When I was a child I had many remarkable experiences of a 
psychical nature, which I remember to have looked upon as ordinary and 
natural at the time. 

" On one occasion (I am unable to fix the date, but I must have been 
about 10 years old) I was walking in a country lane at A., the place where 
my parents then resided. I was reading geometry as I walked along, a 
subject little likely to produce fancies or morbid phenomena of any kind, 
when, in a moment, I saw a bedroom known as the White Room in my 
home, and upon the floor lay my mother, to all appearance dead. The 

^ [Later, in an article in the Nineteenth Century for Oct., 1887, p. 530, Mr. Gurney 
states about this memorandum : " The original, which I have inspected, gives the 
\ gentleman's name, not initials." — Ed.] 


vision must have remained some minutes, during which time my real 
surroundings appeared to pale and die out ; but as the vision faded, actual 
surroundings came back, at first dimly, and then clearly. 

" I could not doubt that what I had seen was real, so, instead of going 
home, I went at once to the house of our raedical man and found him at 
home. He at once set out with me for my home, on the way putting 
questions I could not answer, as my mother was to all appearance well 
when I left home. 

" I led the doctor straight to the White Room, where we found my 
mother actually lying as in my vision. This was true even to minute 
details. She had been seized suddenly by an attack at the heart, and 
would soon have breathed her last but for the doctor's timely advent. I 
shall get my father and mother to read this and sign it. 

" Jeanie Gwynne-Bettany," 

Mrs. Bettany's parents write : — 

" We certify that the above is correct. " S. G. Gwynne. 

" J. W. Gwynne." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Bettany says : — 

(i) "I was in no anxiety about my mother at the time I saw the 
vision I described. She was in her usual health when I left her. 

(2) " Something a little similar had once occurred to my mother. She 
had been out riding alone, and the horse brought her to our door hanging 
half off his back, in a faint. This was a long time before, and she never 
rode again. Heart-disease had set in. She was not in the habit of fainting 
unless an attack of the heart was upon her. Between the attacks she 
looked and acted as if in health. 

(3) " The occasion I described was, I believe, the only one on which I 
saw a scene transported apparently into the actual field of vision, to the 
exclusion of objects and surroundings actually present. 

" I have had other visions in which I have seen events happening as 
they really zvere, in another place, but I have been also conscious of real 

In answer to further inquiries, she adds ; — 

(i) " No one could tell whether my vision preceded the fact or not. 
My mother was supposed to be out. No one knew anything of my mother's 
being ill, till I took the doctor and my father, whom I had encountered 
at the door, to the room where we found my mother as I had seen her in 
my vision. 

(2) " The doctor is dead. He has no living relation. No one in A. 
knew anything of these- circumstances. 

(3) " The White Room in which I saw my mother, and afterwards 
actually found her, was out of use. It was unlikely she should be there. 

" She was found lying in the attitude in which I had seen her. I found 
a handkerchief with a lace border beside her on the floor. This I had 
distinctly noticed in my vision. There were other particulars of coinci- 
dence which I cannot put here." 

Mrs. Bettany's father has given the following fuller account : — 

I distinctly remember being surprised by seeing my daughter, in 
company with the family doctor, outside the door of my residence ; and I 
asked ' Who is ill ? ' She replied, ' jNIamnia.' She led the way at once to 
the ' White Room,' where we found my wife lying in a swoon on the floor. 


It was when I asked when she had been taken ill, that I found it must 
have been after my daughter had left the house. None of the servants in 
the house knew anything of the sudden illness, which our doctor assured 
me would have heen fatal had he not arrived when he did. 
" My wife was quite well when I left her in the morning. 

" S. G. GWYNNE." 

If this vision suggests clairvoyance, owing to the amount of detail pre- 
sented, we must still notice that it includes nothing which was not, or had 
not recently been, within the consciousness of the supposed agent. This 
point will claim further notice at a later stage. But the case is chiefly 
useful as illustrating an evidential point, which it v/ill be very important 
to bear in mind in studying the mass of narratives in the sequel — namely, 
that possible inaccuracy as to details may leave the substantial fact which 
makes for telepathy quite untouched. It might, no doubt, be fairly urged 
that the vision described may have assumed its distinctness of detail in 
the percipient's mind only after the details of the actual scene had met 
her eyes. A child's mind might easily be undiscriminating in this re- 
spect ; and, moreover, Mrs. Bettany is by nature a good visualiser ; which 
may perhaps be supposed to involve a slight tendency to retrospective 
hallucination — to mistaking vividly- conceived images for memories of 
actual experiences. But even if this hypothesis be pressed to the utter- 
most, the fact that she unexpectedly fetched the doctor remains ; and 
if her whole impression of her mother's critical condition was only a subse- 
quent fancy, this very exceptional step m.ust have been taken without a 
reason. That is to say, we can only reject what is the substantial part of 
the evidence by supposing a distinctly improbable thing to have hap- 
pened. And that being so, the evidence is a true stick in the telepathic 
faggot (p. 128). 

I will supplement these two last cases by a third, in which their re- 
spective points, the abstract idea of an event and the concrete picture of 
a scene, were both presented. This case will also illustrate an evidential 
point. It occasionally happens that a number of occurrences, perhaps 
trivial in character, and each of them likely enough to be dismissed as 
merely a very odd coincidence, fall to the experience of one person ; and 
if he is observant of his impressions, he may gradually become conscious 
of a certain similarity between them, which leads him to regard them as 
telepathic, or at any rate as something more than accidental. Before it 
can be worth while to consider such evidence, we must have reason to 
believe that the witness is a good observer, and alive to the very general 
mistake of noting hits and not misses in these matters. Such an observer 
we believe that we have found in Mr. Keulemans, of 34, Matilda Street, 
Barnsbury, N., a well-known scientific draughtsman, of whose care and 
accuracy we have had several examples. He has experienced so many of 
these coincidences that, even before our inquiries quickened his interest 
in the matter, he had been accustomed to keep a record of his impressions 
•— wliich, according to his own account, were invariably justified by fact. 
Some more of his cases will be given in the sequel. The one here quoted 
is trivial enough (except perhaps to the baby who fell out of bed), and of 
little force if it were a single experience. Yet it will be seen that the im- 


pression was precise in character, was at once written down, and proved 
to be completely correct. We may perhaps assume Mrs. Keulemans to 
have been the agent. 

" October i6th, 1883. 

(21) " My wife went to reside at the seaside on September 30th last, 
taking with her our youngest child, a little boy 13 months old. 

" On Wednesday, October 3rd, I felt a strong impression that the little 
fellow was worse (he was in weak health on his departure) . The idea then 
prevailed on my mind that he had met with a slight accident ; and 
immediately the picture of the bedroom in which he sleeps appeared in my 
mind's eye. It was not the strong sensation of awe or sorrow, as I had 
often experienced before on such*bccasions ; but, anyhow, I fancied he had 
fallen out of the bed, upon chairs, and then rolled down upon the floor. 
This was about 11 a.m., and I at once wrote to my wife, asking her to let 
me know how the little fellow was getting on. I thought it rather bold 
to tell my wife that the baby had, to my conviction, really met with an 
accident, without being able to produce any confirmatory evidence. Also 
I considered that she would take it as an insinuation of carelessness on her 
part ; therefore I purposely wrote it as a post scripiiim. 

" I heard no more about it, and even fancied that this time my im- 
pression was merely the consequence of anxiety. But on Saturday last I 
went to see my wife and child, and asked whether she had taken notice of 
my advice to protect the baby against such an accident. She smiled at 
first, and then informed me that he had tumbled out of bed upon the 
chairs placed at the side, and then found his way upon the floor, without 
being hurt. She further remarked, ' You must have been thinking of that 
when it was just too late, because it happened the same day your letter 
came, some hours previously.' I asked her what time of the day it hap- 
pened. Answer : ' About 11 a.m.' She told me that she heard the baby 
fall, and at once ran upstairs to pick him up. 

" I am certain, without the shadow of a doubt, that I wrote im- 
mediately after the impression ; and that this was between 11 and 11.30 
in the morning." 

I have seen the letter which Mr. Keulemans wrote to his wife. The 
envelope bears the post-mark of Worthing, October 3rd ; and the post- 
script contained the following words : — 

" Mind little Gaston does not fall out of bed. Put chairs in front of it. 
You know accidents soon happen. The fact is, I am almost certain he has 
met with such a mishap this very morning." 

Mrs. Kuelemans' aunt supplied the following testimony a day or two 
after Mr. Kuelemans' letter of October i6th. 

" 36, Teville Street, Worthing. 

" Mrs. Keulemans (my niece) and her baby are staying at my house. 
The baby had fallen out of bed the morning of the day the letter [i.e., 
Mr. Keulemans' letter] was received. " C. Gray." 

The next account illustrates an emotional impression, with a certain 
amount of physical discomfort. The experience appears to have been of 
a very unusual sort, and the coincidence of time to have been exact ; the 
case is therefore a strong example of a weak class. The narrator is Miss 
Martyn, of Long Melford Rectory, Suffolk. 

" September 4th, 1S84. 

(22) " On IMarch i6th, 1884, I was sitting alone in the drawing-room, 
reading an interesting book, and feeling perfectly well, when suddenly 


I experienced an undefined feeling of dread and horror ; I looked at the 
clock and saw it was just 7 p.m. I was utterly unable to read, so I got 
up and walked about the room trying to throw off the feeling, but I could 
not : I became quite cold, and had a firm presentiment that I was dying. ^ 
The feeling lasted about half an hour, and then passed off, leaving me a 
good deal shaken all the evening ; I went to bed feeling very weak, as if I 
had been seriously ill. 

" The next morning I received a telegram telling me of the death of a 
near and very dear cousin, Mrs. K., in Shropshire, with whom I had been 
most intimately associated all my life, but for the last two years had seen 
very little of her. I did not associate this feehng of death with her or 
with anyone else, but I had a most distinct impression that something 
terrible was happening. This feeling came over me, I afterwards found, 
just at the time when my cousin died (7 p.m.). The connection with her 
death may have been simply an accident. I have never experienced any- 
thing of the sort before. I was not aware that Mrs. K. was ill, and her 
death was peculiarly sad and sudden. " K. M." 

Mr. White Cooper, through whose kindness we obtained this account, 
writes as follows : — 

"19, Berkeley Square, W. 

" April 7th, 1885. 
" I have asked Miss Marty n whether she had told anyone about her 
feeling of horror on March i6th, before she heard of the death of her 
cousin. She told me she had. She was quite convinced, and perfectly 
remembered telling Miss Mason the same evening, after Miss Mason had 
come from church, that she had had a peculiar feeling of horror and dread 
for which she could give no account. I then questioned Miss Mason, and 
enclose what she dictated." 

Miss Mason says : — 

" The Rectory, Long Melford, Suffolk. 

" April 5th, 1885. 

" I well remember Miss Marty n telling me that a feeling of horror and 
an indescribable dread came over her on Sunday evening, March i6th, 
1884, while we were in church, and she was alone in the drawing-room ; 
that she was unable to shake it off, and felt very restless, and got up and 
walked about the room. She did not refer to anyone, and could give no 
cause for this peculiar feeling. I am under the impression that she told 
me the same evening (Sunday), and before she heard of the death of her 
cousin, but I am not certain whether it was Sunday or Monday that she 
told me about it. "Anna M. Mason." 

We have verified the date of the death in two local newspapers. The 
day was a Sunday, which is in accordance with the evidence. 

§ 4. The next case illustrates the class of dreams (D). I am aware that 
the very mention of this class is apt to raise a prejudice against our whole 
inquiry. I shall explain later why it is extremely difficult to draw con- 
clusive evidence of telepathy from dreams, and why we mark off the 
whole class of dreams, which are simply remembered as such, from the 
cases on which we rest our argument ; but I shall also hope to show that 
dreams, though needing to be treated with the greatest caution, have a 
necessary and instructive place in the conspectus of telepathic phenomena. 

1 Cf. case 70. 


As to the evidential force of the present case, it will be enough to point 
out that the percipient states the experience to have been unique in his 
life ; and that the violence of the effect produced, leading to the very 
unusual entry in the diary, puts the vision outside the common run of 
dreams which may justly be held to afford almost limitless scope for acci- 
dental coincidences. The narrative is from Mr. Frederick Wingfield, of 
Belle Isle en Terra, Cotes du Nord, France. 

" 2oth December, 1883. 

(23) "I give you my most solemn assurance that what I am about to 
relate is the exact account of what occurred. I may remark that I am so 
little liable to the imputation of being easily impressed with a sense of the 
supernatural^ that I have been accused, and with reason, of being unduly 
sceptical upon matters which lay beyond my powers of explanation. 

" On the night of Thursday, the 25th of March, 1880, I retired to bed 
after reading till late, as is my habit. I dreamed that I was lying on my 
sofa reading, when, on looking up, I saw distinctly the figure of my brother, 
Richard Wingfield-Baker, sitting on the chair before me. I dreamed that 
I spoke to him, but that he simply bent his head in reply, rose and left the 
room. When I awoke, I found myself standing with one foot on the 
ground by my bedside, and the other on the bed, trying to speak and to 
pronounce my brother's name. So strong was the impression as to the 
reality of his presence and so vivid the whole scene as dreamt, that I left 
my bedroom to search for my brother in the sitting-room. I examined the 
chair where I had seen him seated, I returned to bed, tried to fall asleep 
in the hope of a repetition of the appearance, but my mind was too 
excited, too painfully disturbed, as I recalled what I had dreamed. I must 
have, however, fallen asleep towards the morning, but when I awoke, the 
impression of my dream was as vivid as ever — and, I may add, is to this 
very hour equally strong and clear. My sense of impending evil was so 
strong that I at once made a note in my memorandum book of this 
' appearance,' and added the words, ' God forbid.' 

" Three days afterwards I received the news that my brother, Richard 
Wingfield-Baker, had died on Thursday evening, the 25th of March, 1880, 
at 8.30 p.m., from the effects of the terrible injuries received in a fall 
while hunting with the Blackmore Vale hounds. 

" I will only add that I had been living in this town some 12 months ; 
that I had not had any recent communication with my brother ; that I 
knew him to be in good health, and that he was a perfect horseman. I did 
not at once communicate this dream to any intimate friend — there was 
unluckily none here at that very moment — but I did relate the story after 
the receipt of the news of my brother's death, and showed the entry in my 
memorandum book. As evidence, of course, this is worthless ; but I give 
you my word of Jionour that the circumstances I have related are the 
positive truth. « pj^Ej^_ Wingfield." 

" February 4th, 1884. 
" I must explain my silence by the excuse that I could not procure till 
to-day a letter from my friend the Prince de Lucinge-Faucigny, in which 
he mentions the fact of my having related to him the particulars of my 
dream on the 25th of March, 1880. He came from Paris to stay a few 
days with me early in April, and saw the entry in my note-book, which I 

^ This expression cannot be excluded, when the words of our informants are 
quoted. We, ourselves, of course, regard all these occurrences as strictly natural. 


now enclose for your inspection. You will observe the initials R. B. W. B., 
and a curious story is attached to these letters. During that sleepless 
night I naturally dwelt upon the incident, and recalled the circumstances 
connected with the apparition. Though I distinctly recognised my 
brother's features, the idea flashed upon me that the figure bore some slight 
resemblance to my most intimate and valued friend. Colonel Bigge, and in 
my dread of impending evil to one to whom I am so much attached, I wrote 
the four initials, R. B. for Richard Baker, and W. B. for William Bigge. 
When the tidings of my brother's death reached me I again looked at the 
entry, and saw with astonishment that the four letters stood for my 
brother's full name, Richard Baker Wingfield-Baker, though I had always 
spoken of him as Richard Baker in common with the rest of my family. 
The figure I saw was that of my brother ; and in my anxious state of mind 
I worried myself into the belief that possibly it might be that of my old 
friend, as a resemblance did exist in the fashion of their beards. I can 
give you no further explanations, nor can I produce further testimony in 
support of my assertions. " Fred. Wingfield." 

With this letter, Mr. Wingfield sent me the note-book, in which among 
a number of business memoranda, notes of books, &c., I find the entry — 
" Appearance — Thursday night, 25th of March, 1880. R. B. W. B. God 
forbid ! " 

The following letter was enclosed : — 

" Coat-an-nos, 2 fevrier, 1884. 

" Mon cher ami, — Je n'ai aucun effort de memoire a faire pour me 
rappeler le fait dont vous me parlez, car j'en ai conserve un souvenir tres 
net et tres precis. 

" Je me souviens parfaitement que le dimanche, 4 avril, 1880, etant 
arrive de Paris le matin meme pour passer ici quelques jours, j'ai ete 
dejeuner avec vous. Je me souviens aussi parfaitement que je vous ai 
trouve fort emu de la douloureuse nouvelle qui vous etait parvenue 
quelques jours^ auparavant, de la mort de I'un des messieurs vos freres. 
Je me rappelle aussi comme si le fait s'etait passe hier, tant j'en ai ete 
frappe, que quelques jours avant d'apprendre la triste nouvelle, vous 
aviez un soir, etant deja couche, vu, ou cru voir, mais en tons cas tres 
distinctement, votre frere, celui dont vous veniez d'apprendre la mort 
subite, tout pres de votre lit, et que, dans las conviction ou vous etiez 
que c'etait bien lui que vous perce\'iez, vous vous etiez leve et lui aviez 
addresse la parole, et qu'a ce moment vous aviez cesse de le voir comme 
s'il s'etait evanoui ainsi qu'un spectre. Je me souviens encore que, 
sous I'impression de I'emotion bien naturelle qui avait ete la suite de 
cet evenement, vous I'aviez inscrit dans un petit carnet ou vous avez 
I'habitude d'ecrire les faits saillants de votre tres paisible existence, 
et que vous m'avez fait voir ce carnet. Cette apparition, cette vision, 
ou ce songe, comme vous voudrez I'appeler, est inscrit, si j'ai bon souvenir, 
a la date du 24 ou du 25 fevrier,^ et ce n'est que deux ou trois 
jours apres que vous avez recu la nouvelle officielle de la mort de 
votre frere. 

" J'ai ete d'autant moins surpris de ce que vous me disiez alors, et j'en 
ai aussi conserve un souvenir d'autant plus net et precis, comme je vous le 
disais en commengant, que j'ai dans ma famille des faits similaires auxquels 
je crois absolument. 

^ The words " quelques jours auparavant," coupled with the fact that the number 
of the day is right, suggest that fivrier is a mere slip of the pen for mars. 


" Des faits semblables arrivent, croyez-le bien, bien plus souvent qu'on 
ne le croit generalement ; seulement on ne veut pas toujours les dire, 
parceque Ton se mefie de soi ou des autres. 

" Au revoir, cher ami, a bientot, je I'espere, et croyez bien a I'expression 
des plus sinceres sentiments de votre tout devoue 

" Faucignv, Prince Lucinge." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Wingfield adds : — 

" I have never had any other startling dream of the same nature, nor 
any dream from which I woke with the same sense of reality and distress, 
and of which the effect continued long after I was well awake. Nor have 
I upon any other occasion had a hallucination of the senses." 

The Times obituary for March 30th, 1880, records the death of Mr. R. 
B. Wingfield-Baker, of Orsett Hall, Essex, as having taken place on the 
25th. The Essex Independent gives the same date, adding that Mr. Baker 
breathed his last about 9 o'clock. 

It will be seen here that the impression followed the death by a few 
hours— a feature which will frequently recur. The fact, of course, slightly 
detracts from the evidential force of a case, as compared with the com- 
pletely simultaneous coincidences ; inasmuch as the odds against the 
accidental occurrence of a unique impression of someone's presence 
within a few hours of his death, enormous as they are, are less enormous 
than the odds against a similar accidental occurrence within five minutes 
of the death. But the deferment of the impression, though to this slight 
extent affecting a case as an item of telepathic evidence, is not in itself any 
obstacle to the telepathic explanation. We may recall that in some of the 
experimental cases the impression was never a piece of conscious ex- 
perience at all ; while in others the latency and gradual emergencies of 
the idea was a very noticeable feature (pp. 47, 50-57). This justifies 
us in presuming that an impression which ultimately takes a sensory form 
may fail in the first instance to reach the threshold of attention. It may 
be unable to compete, at the moment, with the vivid sensory impressions, 
and the crowd of ideas and images, that belong to normal seasons of 
waking life ; and it may thus remain latent till darkness and quiet give a 
chance for its development. This view seems at any rate supported by 
the fact that it is usually at night that the delayed impression — if such it 
be — emerges into the percipient's consciousness. It is supported also by 
analogies which recognised psychology supplies. I may refer to the extra- 
ordinary exaltation of memory sometimes observed in hypnotic and 
hystero-epileptic " subjects " ; or even to the vivid revival, in ordinary 
dreaming, of impressions which have hardly affected the waking con- 

Mr. Wingfield's vision had another unusual feature besides the violence 
of its effect on him. It represented a single figure, without detail or inci- 
dent. It was, so to speak, the dream of an apparition ; and in this respect 
bears a closer af&nity to " borderland " and waking cases than to dreams 
in general. It will be worth while to quote here one dream-case of a more 
ordinary type so far as its content is concerned, but resembling the last in 
its unusual and distressing vividness. The supposed agent in this instance 
experienced nothing more than a brief sense of danger and excitement, 
which, however, may have been sufficiently intense during the moments 


that it lasted. The account is from Mrs. West, of Hildegarde, Furness 
Road, Eastbourne. 

" 1883. 

(24) " My father and brother were on a journey during the winter. I 
was expecting them home, without knowing the exact day of their return. 
The date, to the best of my recollection, was the winter of 1871-2. I had 
gone to bed at my usual time, about 11 p.m. Some time in the night I had 
a vivid dream, which made a great impression on me. I dreamt I was look- 
ing out of a window, when I saw father driving' in a Spids sledge, followed 
in another by my brother. They had to pass a cross-road, on which 
another traveller was driving very fast, also in a sledge with one horse. 
Father seemed to drive on without observing the other fellow, who would 
without fail have driven over father if he had not made his horse rear, so 
that I saw my father drive under the hoofs of the horse. Every moment I 
expected the horse would fall down and crush him. I called out ' Father ! 
father ! ' and woke in a great fright. The next morning my father and 
brother returned. I said to him, ' I am so glad to see you arrive quite 
safely, as I had such a dreadful dream about you last night.' My brother 
said, ' You could not have been in greater fright about him than I was,' 
and then he related to me what had happened, which tallied exactly with 
my dream. My brother in his fright, when he saw the feet of the horse 
over father's head, called out, ' Oh ! father, father ! ' 

" I have never had any other dream of this kind, nor do I remember 
ever to have had another dream of an accident happening to anyone in 
whom I was interested. I often dream of people, and when this happens 
I generally expect to receive a letter from them, or to hear of them in the 
course of the next day. I dreamt of Mrs. G. Bidder the night before I 
received her letter asking me for an account of this dream ; and I told Mr. 
West, before we went down to breakfast, that I should have a letter that 
day from her. I had no other reason to expect a letter from her, nor had 
I received one for some time, I should think some years, previously. 

" Hilda West." 

Mrs. West's father, Sir John Crowe, late Consul-General for Norway, 
is since dead ; but her brother, Mr. Septimus Crowe, of Librola, Mary's 
Hill Road, Shortlands, sends us the following confirmation : — 

" I remember vividly, on my return once with my father from a trip 
to the north of Norway in the winter time, my sister meeting us at the 
hall-door as we entered, and exclaimimg how pleased she was to see us, 
and that we were safe, as she said at once to me that she had had such an 
unpleasant dream the evening before. I said, ' What was it ? ' She then 
minutely explained to me the dream, as she related it to you, and which is 
in accordance with the facts. It naturally astonished my father and 
myself a good deal, that she so vividly in her sleep saw exactly what 
happened, and I should say, too, she dreamt it at the very time it 
happened, about 11.30 p.m. " Septimus Crowe."i 

^ Our friend Mrs. Bidder, the wife of Mr. G. Bidder, Q.c, sends us the following 
recollection of the narrative as told at her table by Mr. S. Crowe, who is her husband's 

" Ravensbury Park, Mitcham, Surrey. 

" 10th January, 1883. 
" The following was related at our table by my husband's brother-in-law, Mr. 
Septimus Crowe. His father, since dead, was Sir John Crowe, Consul-General for 

" * My father and I were travelling one winter in Norway, We had our carrioles 


This, again, is a good example of a weak class. But in the present 
instance we at any rate possess Mrs. West's testimony that her experience 
was unique ; and we have, further, Mr. Crowe's testimony that the dream 
was accurately described before the facts were known. It was described, 
no doubt, in a conversation with him — a person whose mind was full of the 
facts, and he probably did not keep silence during the whole course of his 
sister's narration : I have already noted that the unprepared actors in 
these cases are not likely to conduct themselves at the moment with a 
deliberate eye to the fiawlessness of their evidence for our purposes some 
years afterwards. But it would be straining a sceptical hypothesis too far 
to assume that his interposed comments formed the real basis of the scene 
in Mrs. West's memory, while he himself remained completely unconscious 
that he was supplying the information which he appeared to be 

§ 5. We now come to an example of the " borderland " class (E) — the 
class where the percipient, though not asleep, was not, or cannot be 
proved to have been, in a state of complete normal wakefulness. The 
case was first published in the Spiritual Magazine for 1861, by Dr. CoUyer, 
who wrote from Beta House, 8, Alpha Road, St. John's Wood, N.W. 

" April 15th, 1 861. 
(25) " On January 3rd, 1856, my brother Joseph being in command 
ef the steamer ' Alice,' on the Mississippi, just above New Orleans, she came 
in collision with another steamer. The concussion caused the flagstaff or 
pole to fall with great \'iolence, which, coming in contact with5 my 
brother's head, actually divided the skill, causing, of necessity, instant 
death. In October, 1857, I visited the United States. When, at my 
father's residence, Camden, New Jersey, the melancholy death of my 
brother became the subject of conversation, my mother narrated to me 
that at the very time of the accident, the apparition of my brother 
Joseph was presented to her. This fact was corroborated by my father 
and four sisters. Camden, New Jersey, is distant from the scene of the 
accident, in a direct line, over 1000 miles, and nearly double that distance 
by the mail route. My mother mentioned the fact of the apparition on 
the morning of the 4th of January to my father and sisters ; nor was it 
until the i6th, or 13 days after, that a letter was received confirming in 
every particular the extraordinary visitation. It will be important to 
mention that my brother William and his wife lived near the locality of 
the dreadful accident, now being in Philadelphia; they have also cor- 
roborated to me the details of the impression produced on my mother." 

as sledges, and my father drove first. I following. One day we were driving very 
quickly down a steep hill, at the bottom of which ran a road, at right angles with 
the one we were on. As we neared the bottom of the hill we saw a carriole, going 
as quickly as ourselves, just ready to cross our path. My father remed in suddenly, 
his horse reared and fell over, and I could not, at first, see whether he was hurt or 
not. He, luckily, had sustained no injury, and in due time we reached home. My 
sister, on our approach, rushed out, exclaiming : " Then you are not hurt ? I saw 
the horse rear, but I could not see whether you were hurt or not." ' " 

It will be seen that if Mrs. Bidder's report is strictly accurate, there is a dis- 
crepancy as to which of the two horses it was that reared. But even eye-witnesses 
of a sudden and confusing accident might afterwards differ in such a point 
as this. 


Dr. Collyer then quotes a letter from his mother, which contains the 
following sentences : — 

" Camden, New Jersey, United States. 

" March 27th, 1861. 
" My beloved Son, — On the 3rd of January, 1856, I did not feel 
well, and retired to bed early. Some time after, I felt uneasy and sat up 
in bed ; I looked round the room, and to my utter amazement, saw Joseph 
standing at the door, looking at me with great earnestness, his head 
bandaged up, a dirty night-cap on, and a dirty white garment on, some- 
thing like a surplice. He was much disfigured about the eyes and face. 
It made me quite uncomfortable the rest of the night. The next morning, 
Mary came into my room early. I told her that I was sure I was going 
to have bad news from Joseph. I told all the family at the breakfast- table ; 
they replied, ' It was only a dream, and all nonsense,' but that did not 
change my opinion. It preyed on my mind, and on the i6th of January 
I received the news of his death ; and, singular to say, both William and 
his wife, who were there, say that he was exactly attired as I saw him. 

" Your ever affectionate Mother, 

" Anne E. Collyer." 
Dr. Collyer continues : — 

" It will no doubt be said that my mother's imagination was in a 
morbid state, but this will not account for the fact of the apparition of my 
brother presenting himself at the exact moment of his death. My mother 
had never seen him attired as described, and the bandaging of the head 
did not take place until hours after the accident. My brother William told 
me that his head was nearly cut in two by the blow, and that his face was 
dreadfully disfigured, and the night-dress much soiled. 

" I cannot wonder that others should be sceptical, as the evidences I 
have had could not have been received on the testimony of others ; we 
must, therefore, be charitable towards the incredulous. 

" Robert H. Collyer, M.D., F.C.S., &c." 

On our applying to Dr. Collyer, he replied as follows : — 

" 25, Newington Causeway, Borough, S.E. 

" March 15th, 1884. 

" In replying to your communication, I must state that, strange as the 
circumstances narrated in the Spiritual Magazine of 1861 are, I can assure 
you that there is not a particle of exaggeration. As there stated, my 
mother received the mental impression of my brother on January 3rd, 
1856. My father, who was a scientific man, calculated the difference of 
longitude between Camden, New Jersey, and New Orleans, and found that 
the mental impression was at the exact time of my brother's death. I 
may mention that I never was a believer in any spiritual intercourse, or 
that any of the phenomena present during exalted conditions of the brain 
are spiritual. I am, and have been for the last 40 years, a materialist, 
and think that all the so-called spiritual manifestations admit of a philo- 
sophical explanation, on physical laws and conditions. I do not desire 
to theorise, but to my mind the sympathetic chord of relationship existed 
between my mother and my brother (who was her favourite son), when 
that chord was broken by his sudden death, she being at the time favour- 
ably situated to receive the shock. 

" In the account published in the Spiritual Magazine, I omitted to 
state that my brother Joseph, prior to his death, had retired for the night 
in his berth ; his vessel was moored alongside the levee, at the time of the 


collision by another steamer coining down the Mississippi. Ol course, my 
brother was in his nightgown. He ran on deck on being called and informed 
that a steamer was in close proximity to his own. These circumstances 
were communicated to me by my brother William, who was on the 
spot at the time of the accident. I do not attempt to account for the 
apparition having a bandage, as that could not have been put for some 
time after death. The difference of time between Camden, New Jersey, 
and New Orleans is nearly 15°, or one hour. 

" My mother retired for the night on 3rd January, 1856, at 8 p.m., 
which would mark the time at New Orleans 7 p.m. as the time of my 
brother's death." 

Mr. Podmore says : — 

" I called upon Dr. Collyer on 25th March, 1884. He told me that 
he received a full account of the story verbally from his father, mother, 
and brother in 1857. All are now dead ; but two sisters — to one of whom 
I have written — are still living. Dr. Collyer was quite certain of the 
precise coincidence of time." 

The following is from one of the surviving sisters : — 

" Mobile, Alabama, 12th May, 1884. 
" I resided in Camden, New Jersey, at the time of my brother's death. 
He lived in Louisiana. His death was caused by the collision of two 
steamers on the Mississippi. Some part of the mast fell on him, splitting 
his head open, causing instantaneous death. The apparition appeared to 
my mother at the foot of her bed. It stood there for some time gazing at 
her, and disappeared. The apparition was clothed in a long white garment, 
with its head bound in a white cloth. My mother was not a superstitious 
person, nor did she believe in Spiritualism. She was wide awake at the 
time. It was not a dream. She remarked to me when I saw her in the 
morning, ' I shall hear bad news from Joseph,' and related to me what she 
had seen. Two or three days^ from that time we heard of the sad accident. 
I had another brother who was there at the time, and when he returned 
home I inquired of him all particulars, and how he was laid out. His . 
description answered to what my mother saw, much to our astonishment. 

" A. E. Collyer." 

Here we have no direct proof of the exactness of the coincidence ; 
but Dr. Collyer is clear on the fact that the matter was carefully inquired 
into at the time. As to the alleged resemblances between the phantasm 
and the real figure, we shall find reason further on to think that the im- 
pression of the white garment may have been really transferred. But the 
criticism made above in respect of Mrs. Bettany's narrative again 
applies : we cannot account it certain that points were not read back into 
the vision, after Mrs. Collyer had learnt the actual aspect which the dead 
man presented. It will be observed, too, that the more striking details — 
especially that of the bandage — could not in any case help the telepathic 
argument. For if the son who was killed was the " agent " of his mother's 
impression, any correspondence of the phantasmal appearance with 
features of reality which did not come into existence till after death must 
plainly have been accidental. We shall afterwards encounter plenty of 

^ This is probably incorrect, as it differs from Dr. Collyer' s and the mother's 
statement ; but the point does not seem important. 


instances where the percipient supplements the impression that he re- 
ceives with elements from his own mind, and especially, in death-cases, 
with elements symbolic of death ; and it is not impossible that in the 
present instance the white garment and bandaged head were a dim repre- 
sentation of grave-clothes. 

The following piece of independent evidence has been received as to 
the manner of Captain Collyer's death. An advertisement was inserted 
for us in the Daily Picayune, the leading New Orleans newspaper, offering 
a small reward for definite information as to the fatal accident on the 
" Alice." For some months no information was given ; but on January 
6, 1886, the editor wrote to us as follows : — 

" To-day a party called at the Picayune office and made the following 
statement : ' My name is J. L. Hall. I was a striker on the steamer " Red 
River " at the time she ran into the " Alice," John Colly er, master, at a 
point about 20 miles above New Orleans. The accident occurred at 10 
o'clock at night, in January, 1856. The day of the month I do not re- 
member. The "Red River" was bound up stream, and the "Alice" 
bound down. The collision broke the starboard engine of the " Alice " 
and stove in her upper guards and boiler deck. As soon as possible the 
" Red River " went to the assistance of the " Alice," when one of the 
crew of the disabled boat remarked that the captain had been killed. On 
investigation, Captain CoUyer was found lying on his back on the star- 
board side of the boiler deck of his boat, with a severe wound in the head 
and life extinct. The crew of the " Alice," all of whom were negroes, 
stated that Captain Collyer had been killed by the collision, but the officers 
of the " Red River " thought otherwise, as the wound in his (Captain 
Collyer's) head appeared to have been made before the two boats met, and 
the blood on the deck was coagulated. Probably not more than 10 minutes 
elapsed from the time the collision took place uiitil the body of Captain 
Collyer was viewed by the officers of the " Red River." After helping the 
" Alice " to make repairs, the " Red River " proceeded on her voyage. I 
cannot say positively, but I do not think the killing of Captain Collyer was 
ever investigated.' "^ 

It will be seen that there is a suggestion here that the death preceded 
the collision ; and if this was so, it is an additional reason for supposing 
the coincidence with Mrs. Collyer's experience to have been extremely 
close ; for the witness had no idea why the evidence was wanted, and 
cannot have adjusted his account to a narrative of which he knew nothing. 

Mrs. Collyer would probably have affirmed that at the time of her 
vision she was completely awake. That the percipient in the next ex- 
ample was completely awake is, I think, nearly certain ; but as he was 
in bed, the account may serve as a transition to the cases where the 
matter admits of no doubt. Mr. Marchant, of Linkfield Street, Redhill, 
formerly a large farmer, wrote to us in the summer of 1883 : — 

(26) " About 2 o'clock on the morning of October 21st, 1881, while I 
was perfectly wide awake, and looking at a lamp burning on my washhand- 

^ The man who gave this account doubtless received the reward of a few dollars 
which had been placed in the editor's hands. In only one other instance has any 
payment been made to a witness : in that case the evidence had been spontaneously 
given, partly in writing and partly vivd voce, and the payment was simply for the 
time occupied in drawing up a more complete written statement. 


stand, a person, as I thought, came into my room by mistake, and stopped, 
looking into the looking-glass on the table. It soon occurred to me it 
represented Robinson Kelsey, by his dress and wearing his hair long 
behind. When I raised m3'-3elf up in bed and called out, it instantly 
disappeared. 1 The next day^ I mentioned to some of my friends how 
strange it was. So thoroughly convinced was I, that I searched the local 
papers that day (Saturday) and the following Tuesday, believing his death 
would be in one of them. On the following Wednesday, a man, who 
formerly was my drover, came and told me Robinson Kelsey was dead. 
Anxious to know at what time he died, I wrote to Mr. Wood, the family 
undertaker at Lingfield ; he learnt from the brother-in-law of the deceased 
that he died at 2 a.m. He was my first cousin, and was apprenticed 
formerly to me as a miller ; afterwards he lived with me as journeyman ; 
altogether, 8 years. I never saw anything approaching that before. I am 
72 years old, and never feel nervous ; I am not afraid of the dead or their 
spirits. I hand you a rough plan of the bedroom, &c." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Mar chant replied : — 

" Robinson Kelsey had met with an accident. His horse fell with 
him, and from that time he seemed at times unfit for business. He had a 
farm at Penshurst, in Kent. His friends persuaded him to leave it. He 
did, and went to live on his own property, called Batnors Hall, in the 
parish of Lingfield, Surrey. I had not been thinking about him, neither 
had I spoken to him for 20 years. About 3 or 4 years before his death I 
saw him, but not to speak to him. I was on the up-side platform of Red- 
hill Station, and I saw him on the opposite down-side. In the morning 
after seeing the apparition, I spoke about it to a person in the house. In 
the evening I again spoke about it to two persons, how strange it was. It 
was several days after our conversation about what I had seen that I 
heard of the death. These people will confirm my statement, for after I 
heard of his death I spoke of it to the same people, that my relation died 
the same night as I saw the apparition. When I spoke to these three 
persons I did not know of his death, but had my suspicions from what I 
had seen. As the apparition passed between my bed and the lamp I had 
a full view of it ; it was unmistakable. When it stopped looking in the 
glass I spoke to it, then it gently sank away downwards. 

" Probably it was 10 days before I found out, through Mr. Wood, the 
hour he died, so that these persons I spoke to knew nothing of his death at 
the time. " George Marchant." 

We have received the following confirmation of this incident : — 

" July 1 8th, 1883. 
" We are positive of hearing Mr. Marchant one day say that he saw 
the apparition of Robinson Kelsey during the previous night. 

" Ann Langeridge, Linkfield Street, Redhill. 
" Matilda Fuller, Station Road, Redhill. 
" William Miles, Station Road, Redhill." 

Mr. Anthony Kelsey, of Lingfield, Surrey, brother-in-law and cousin 
of Robinson Kelsey, has confirmed October 21st, 1881, as the date of the 
death (which we have also verified in the Register of Deaths), but he has 

^ As to the disappearance on sudden speech or movement, see p. 427, second 

" This means the day following the night of the experience ; but, two lines 
lower, that day should no doubt be the next day as Oct. 21, 1881, was a Friday. 


forgotten the hour ; and Mr. Robinson Kelsey's widow having since died, 
Mr. Marchant's recollection on this point cannot now be independently 
confirmed. As to the hour of the apparition, again, Mr. Marchant's state- 
ment is only a conclusion, drawn from his regular habit of waking once 
in the middle of the night at about 2. But there can be no reasonable 
doubt that the day of the death and of the vision was the same. 

On February 12th, 1884, I had an interview with Mr. Marchant, who is 
a very vigorous and sensible old man, with a precise mind. He went 
through all the details of his narrative in a methodical manner, and his 
description corresponded in every particular with the written account, 
which was sent to me many months before. Mr. Marchant was positive 
that he never had any other hallucination of the senses, and laughed at the 
very idea of such things. He quite realised the ordinary criticisms which 
might be made about a nocturnal vision, e.g., that he had had a glass too 
much, and also realised their absurdity as applied to his own case. I cannot 
doubt his statement that he has been a most temperate man. He showed 
me in his bedroom the precise line that the figure took ; appearing at his 
right hand, then passing along in front of a lamp which was on the wash- 
hand-stand, and finally standing between the foot of his bed and the 
dressing-table. He described Kelsey's long and bushy black hair as a very 
distinct peculiarity. In answer to inquiries on this point he says : "I have 
not any doubt whatever that Robinson Kelsey did have that peculiarity 
of the hair at the day of his death. My recollection of him is as clear as if 
I had his photo before me." The figure was visible, he thinks, for nearly a 
minute ; but the length of time in such cases is of course likely to be over- 

I likewise saw Mrs. Langeridge, a sensible person, without any belief 
in " ghosts." who at once volunteered the remark that Mr. Marchant 
described his vision to her next morning. 

This case is remarkable from the fact that there was no immediate 
interest between the two parties — though it is of course possible that the 
dying man's thoughts reverted to his kinsman and old employer. But 
comments on this point must be reserved. 

§ 6. We now come to examples of the most important class of all, 
Class A — externalised impressions, occurring to persons who are up, and 
manifestly in the full possession of their waking senses. Of this class the 
most important examples are visual impressions, or apparitions. But I 
will first give a case which is on the line between Classes A and B, a vision 
not absolutely externalised in space, but where the mental image took on 
a sort of vividness and objectivity which the percipient believes to have 
been unexampled in his experience. The coincidence with the death of 
the agent was apparently quite exact ; and we have the testimony of a third 
person to the fact that the percipient mentioned his impression imme- 
diately on its occurrence. The narrator is Mr. Rawlinson, of Lansdown 
Court West, Cheltenham. 

" September i8th, 1883. 

(27) " I was dressing one morning in December, 1881, when a certain 
conviction came upon me that someone was in my dressing-room. On 
looking round, I saw no one, but then, instantaneously (in my mind's eye, 
I suppose), every feature of the face and form of my old friend, X., arose. 
This, as you may imagine, made a great impression on me, and I went at 
once into my wife's room and told her what had occurred, at the same 


time stating that I feared Mr. X. must be dead. The subject was men- 
tioned between us several times that day. Next morning, I received a 
letter from X.'s brother, then Consul-Gen eral at Odessa, but who I did 
not know was in England, saying that his brother had died at a quarter 
before 9 o'clock that morning. This was the very time the occurrence 
happened in my dressing-room. It is right to add that we had heard some 
two months previously that X. was suffering from cancer, but still we 
were in no immediate apprehension of his death. I never on any other 
occasion had any hallucination of the senses, and sincerely trust I never 
again shall. " Rqb. Rawlinson." 

The following is Mrs. Rawlinson's account : — 

" June i8th, 1883. 

" My husband was dressing, a few months ago, one morning about a 
quarter to 9 o'clock, when he came into my room and said : ' I feel sure 
X.' (an old friend of his) ' is dead.' He said all at once he felt as if there 
was someone in the room with him, and X.'s face came vividly before his 
mind's eye ; and then he had this extraordinary conviction of X.'s death. 
He could not get the idea out of his mind all day. Strange to say, the 
next morning he had a letter saying X. had died the morning before, at a 
quarter to 9, just the very time my husband came into my room. About 
two months before, we had heard that X. had an incurable complaint, but 
we had heard nothing more, and his name had not been mentioned by 
anyone for weeks. I ought to tell you that my husband is the last person 
in the world to imagine anything, and he had always been particularly 
unbelieving as to anything supernatural. "^ 

A reference to the Consul's letter, and to the Times obituary, has fixed 
the date of the death as December 1 7th ; but the date of the vision was 
not written down at the time : we therefore have to trust to Mr. and 
Mrs. Rawlinson's memory for the fact that it took place on the day before 
the letter was received. Not, however — be it observed — to their memory 
now, but to their memory at the time when the letter was received ; and 
considering the effect that the occurrence had on their minds, we can 
scarcely suppose them to have agreed in referring it to the preceding day 
if several days had really intervened. 

In the next case the coincidence was certainly close to within a very 
few minutes, and may have been exact. The impression was again com- 
pletely unique in the percipient's experience, and was at once communi- 
cated to a third person, whose testimony to that point we have obtained. 
" N. J. S.," who, though he uses the third person, is himself the narrator, 
is personally known to us. Occupying a position of considerable responsi- 
bility, he does not wish his name to be published ; but it can be given to 
inquirers, and he " will answer any questions personally to anyone having 
a wish to arrive at the truth." The account was received within a few 
weeks of the occurrence. 

(28) " N. J. S. and F. L. were employed together in an office, were 
brought into intimate relations with one another, which lasted for about 
eight years, and held one another in very great regard and esteem. On 
Monday, March 19th, 1883, F. L., in coming to the office, complained of 

^ See p. 142, note. " X." in the above accounts is our own substitution for the 
real name. 


having suffered from indigestion ; he went to a chemist, who told him that 
his hver was a Httle out of order, and gave him some medicine. He did not 
seem much better on Thursday. On Saturday he was absent, and N. J. S. 
has since heard he was examined by a medical man, who thought he wanted 
a day or two of rest, but expressed no opinion that anything was serious. 

" On Saturday evening, March 24th, N. J. S., who had a headache, was 
sitting at home. He said to his wife that he was, what he had not been for 
months, rather too warm ; after making the remark he leaned back on the 
couch, and the next minute saw his friend, F. L., standing before him, 
dressed in his usual manner. N. J. S. noticed the details of his dress, 
that is, his hat with a black band, his overcoat unbuttoned, and a stick in 
his hand ; he looked with a fixed regard at N. J, S., and then passed away. 
N. J. 8. quoted to himself from Job, ' And lo, a spirit passed before me, 
and the hair of my flesh stood up.' At that moment an icy chill passed 
through him,i and his hair bristled. He then turned to his wife and asked 
her the time ; she said, ' 12 minutes to 9.' He then said, ' The reason I 
ask you is that F. L. is dead. I have just seen him.' She tried to persuade 
him it was fancy, but he most positively assured her that no argument was 
of avail to alter his opinion. 

" The next day, Sunday, about 3 p.m., A. L., brother of F. L., came to 
the house of N. J. S., who let him in. A. L. said, ' I suppose you know 
what I have come to tell you ? ' N. J. S. replied, ' Yes, your brother is 
dead.' A. L. said, M thought you would know it.' N. J. S. replied, 
' Why ? ' A. L. said, ' Because you were in such sympathy with one 
another.' N. J. S. afterwards ascertained that A. L. called on Saturday to 
see his brother, and on leaving him noticed the clock on the stairs was 25 
minutes to 9 p.m. F. L.'s sister, on going to him at 9 p.m., found him dead 
from rupture of the aorta. 

" This is a plain statement of facts, and the only theory N. J. S. has on 
the subject is that at the supreme moment of death, F. L. must have felt a 
great wish to communicate with him, and in some way by force of will 
impressed his image on N. J. S.'s senses." 

In reply to our inquiries Mr. S. says : — 

" May nth, 1883. 

" (i) My wife was sitting at a table in the middle of the room under 
a gas chandelier, either reading or doing some wool work. I was sitting 
on a couch at the side of the room in the shade ; she was not looking in the 
direction I was. I studiously spoke in a quiet manner to avoid alarming 
her ; she noticed nothing particular in me. 

" (2) I have never seen any appearance before, but have disbelieved 
in them, not seeing any motive. 

(3) Mr. A. L. told me that in coming to inform me of his brother's 
death, he wondered what would be the best way of breaking the matter 
to me, when, without any reason except the knowledge of our strong 
mutual regard, it seemed to flash upon his mind that I might know it. 

" There had been no instances of thought-transmission between us. 

" There are many slight details which it is nearly impossible to describe 

^ A cold sensation was a feature also of 194, 223, 286, where the percipient describes 
a sensation as of " cold water poured on the nape of the neck," 352, and other 
cases ; and perhaps compare 263. I have met with an interesting case of the peculiar 
sensation described, in connection with purely subjective hallucinations. Mr. J, 
E.U5Sell Lowell tells me that in past years he had frequent hallucinations of vision, 
of both the recognised and the unrecognised sort, which greatly interested him ; 
and that the experience was ushered in (he believes invariably) by a feeling of marked 
chill, which seemed to ascend from the feet to the head. 


in writing, so I may say that I shajl be most willing to give you a personal 
account and answer any questions at any time you should be in town. 

" There is one thing which strikes me as singular — the instant certainty 
I felt that my friend wa§ dead, as there was nothing to lead up to the idea ; 
and also that I seemed to accept all that passed without feeling surprise, 
and as if it were an ordinary matter of course. << -^ t g " 

Mrs. S. supplies the following corroboration : — 

" September i8th, 1883. 
" On the evening of the 24th jNIarch last, I was sitting at a table 
reading, my husband was sitting on a couch at the side of the room ; he 
asked me the time, and, on my replying 12 minutes to 9, he said, ' The 
reason why I ask is that L. is dead, I have just seen him.' I answered, 
' What nonsense, you don't even know that he is ill ; I daresay when you 
go to town on Tuesday you will see him all right.' However, he persisted 
in saying he had seen L., and was sure of his death. I noticed at 
the time that he looked very much agitated and was very pale. 

" Maria S." 

We find from the Times obituary that F. L.'s death took place on March 
24th, 1883. 

In a later communication Mr. S. says : — 

" February 23rd, 1885. 

" In compliance with your request, I have asked Mr. A. L. to send you 
the statement of what came to his knowledge with reference to the time of 
his brother's death. 

" I have often thought the matter over since. I am unable to satisfy 
my own mind as to the why of the occurrence^ but I still adhere to every 
particular, having nothing to add or withdraw." 

Mr. L.'s brother corroborates as follows : — 

" Bank of England. 

" February 24th, 1885. 

" Mr. S. having informed me that you have expressed a wish that I 
should corroborate some statements made by him relative to my brother 
Frederick's sudden death, I beg to send you the following particulars. 

"On Saturday, March 24th, 1883, my brother having been absent 
from business, I called about 8 p.m. to see him, and found him sitting up 
in his bedroom. I left him, apparently much better, and came down to 
the dining-room about 8.40, where I remained with my sister for about 
half an hour, when I left, and she, going upstairs, immediately upon my 
departure, found her brother lying dead upon the bed, so that the exact 
time of his death will never be known. On my way over to Mr. S. the next 
day, to break the news to him, the thought occurred to me — knowing the 
strong sympathy between them — ' I should not be surprised if he has had 
some presentiment of it ' ; and when he came to the door to meet me, I 
felt certain from his look that it was so, hence I said, ' You know what I 
have come for,' and he then told me that he had seen my brother Frederick 
in a vision a little before 9 on the previous evening. I must tell you I am 
no believer in visions, and have not always found presentiments correct ; 
yet I am perfectly certain of Mr. S.'s veracity, and, having been asked to 
confirm him, willingly do so, though I strengthen a cause I am not a 
disciple of. "A. C. L." 

An attempt to form a numerical estimate of the probability (or im- 


probability) that the coincidence in this case was accidental will be found 
in a subsequent chapter on " The Theory of Chance-Coincidence " (pp. 


The next case again exhibits the slight deferment of the percipient's 
experience which I have already mentioned (p. 144). But its chief interest 
is as illustrating what may be called a local, as distinct from a personal, 
rapport between the parties concerned. ^ The percipient, at the moment 
of his impression, was contemplating a spot with which the agent was 
specially connected, and which may even have had a very distinct place 
in her dying thoughts ; and it is natural to find in this fact a main condition 
why he, of all people, should have been the one impressed. The case was 
thus narrated to us by the Rev. C. T. Forster, Vicar of Hinxton, Saffron 
Walden : — 

" August 6th, 1885. 

(29) " My late parishioner, Mrs. de Freville, was a somewhat eccentric 
lady, who was specially morbid on the subject of tombs, &c. 

" About two days after her death, which took place in London, May 
8th, in the afternoon, I heard that she had been seen that very night by 
Alfred Bard. I sent for him, and he gave me a very clear and circum- 
stantial account of what he had seen. 

" He is a man of great observation, being a self-taught naturalist, and 
I am quite satisfied that he desires to speak the truth without any 

" I must add that I am absolutely certain that the news of Mrs. de 
Freville's death did not reach Hinxton till the next morning, May 9th. 
She was found dead at 7.30 p.m. She had been left alone in her room, 
being poorly, but not considered seriously or dangerously ill. 

" C. T. Forster." 

The following is the percipient's own account : — 

" July 2ist, 1885. 
" I am a gardener in employment at Sawston. I always go through 
Hinxton churchyard on my return home from work. On Friday, May 8th, 
1885, I was walking back as usual. On entering the churchyard, I looked 
rather carefully at the ground, in order to see a cow and donkey which 
used to lie just inside the gate. In so doing I looked straight at the 
square stone vault in which the late Mr. de Freville was at one time 
buried. I then saw Mrs. de Freville leaning on the rails, dressed much as 
I had usually seen her, in a coal-scuttle bonnet, black jacket with deep 
crape, and black dress. She was looking full at me. Her face was very 
white, much whiter than usual. I knew her well, having at one time 
been in her employ. I at once supposed that she had come, as she some- 
times did, to the mausoleum in her own park, in order to have it opened 
and go in. I supposed that Mr. Wiles, the mason from Cambridge, was 
in the tomb doing something. I walked round the tomb, looking carefully 
at it, in order to see if the gate was open, keeping my eye on her and never 
more than five or six yards from her. Her face turned and followed me. 
I passed between the church and the tomb (there are about four yards 
between the two), and peered forward to see whether the tomb was open, 
as she hid the part of the tomb which opened. I slightly stumbled on a 
hassock of grass, and looked at my feet for a moment only. When I 
looked up she was gone. She could not possibly have got out of the 

As to this point, eee pp. 515-16. 


churchyard, as in order to reach any of the exits she must have passed me.* 
So I took for granted that she had quickly gone into the tomb. I went 
up to the door, which I expected to find open, but to my surprise it was 
shut and had not been opened, as there was no key in the lock. I rather 
hoped to have a look into the tomb myself, so I went back again and shook 
the gate to make sure, but there was no sign of any one's having been 
there. I was then much startled and looked at the clock, which marked 
9.20. When I got home I half thought it must have been my fancy, but I 
told my wife that I had seen Mrs. de Freville. 

" Next day, when my little boy told me that she was dead, I gave a 
start, which my companion noticed, I was so much taken aback. 

" I have never had any other hallucination whatever. 

" Alfred Bard." 

Mrs. Bard's testimony is as follows : — 

" July 8th, 1885. 
" When Mr. Bard came home he said, ' I have seen Mrs. de Freville 
to-night, leaning with her elbow on the palisade, looking at me. I turned 
again to look at her and she was gone. She had cloak and bonnet on.' He 
got home as usual between 9 and 10 ; it was on the 8th of May, 1885. 

" Sarah Bard." 

The Times obituary confirms the date of the death. 

[Mr. Myers was conducted over Hinxton churchyard by Mr. Forster, 
and can attest the substantial accuracy of Mr. Bard's description of the 
relative position of the church, the tomb, and the exits. The words " must 
have passed me," however, give a slightly erroneous impression ; " must 
have come very near me " would be the more correct description.] 

[In 1887 and 1888, in replies to criticisms by Professor C. S. Peirce, 
Mr. Gurney gives (in the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical 
Research, vol. i., 1 885-1 889) three additional contributions to the evidence 
in this case, viz. : (a) On page 168 a testimonial to Mr. Bard's sobriety 
from the Vicar which I need not quote ; (6) On page 273, footnote, a 
correction as to the hour of death ; he says, " In case 29 it is stated that 
Mrs. de Freville was found dead at 7.30 p.m. I learn from a near relative of 
hers that the time was certainly some hours earlier, about 2 p.m. ; " (c) on 
page 292 the following explicit statement by Mr. Bard : "I had no know- 
ledge that Mrs. de Freville was ill, and was not even av/are that she was 
away from Hinxton. — Alfred Bard." Ed.] 

The next case is of a more abnormal type. We received the first ac- 
count of it — the percipient's evidence — through the kindness of ]\Irs. 
Martin, of Ham Court, Upton-on-Severn, Worcester. 

" Antony, Torpoint, December 14th, 1882. 
(30) " Helen Alexander (maid to Lady Waldegrave) was lying here very 
ill with typhoid fever, and was attended by me. I was standing at the table 
by her bedside, pouring out her medicine, at about 4 o'clock in the morning 
of the 4th October, 1880. I heard the call-bell ring (this had been heard 
twice before during the night in that same week), and was attracted by the 
door of the room opening, ^ and by seeing a person entering the room whom 
I instantly felt to be the mother of the sick woman. She had a brass 
candlestick in her hand, a red shawl over her shoulders, and a flannel 
petticoat on which had a hole in the front. I looked at her as much as to 

^ See the remark within brackets, which follows the case. 
* See p. 92. 


say, ' I am glad you have come,' but the woman looked at me sternly, as 
much as to say, ' Why wasn't I sent foi before ? ' I gave the medicine to 
Helen Alexander, and then turned round to speak to the vision, but no one 
was there. She had gone. She was a short, dark person, and very stout. 
At about 6 o'clock that morning Helen Alexander died. Two days after 
her parents and a sister came to Antony, and arrived between i and 2 
o'clock in the morning ; I and another maid let them in, and it gave me a 
great turn when I saw the living likeness of the vision I had seen two 
nights before. I told the sister about the vision, and she said that the 
description of the dress exactly answered to her mother's and that they 
had brass candlesticks at home exactly like the one described. There was 
not the slightest resemblance between the mother and daughter. 

" Frances Reddell." 

This at first sight might be taken for a mere delusion of an excitable 
or over-tired servant, modified and exaggerated by the subsequent sight 
of the real mother. If such a case is to have evidential force, we must 
ascertain beyond doubt that the description of the experience was given 
in detail before any knowledge of the reality can have affected the per- 
cipient's memory or imagination. This necessary corroboration has been 
kindly supplied by Mrs. Pole-Carew, of Antony, Torpoint, Devonport. 

" December 31st, 1883, 
" In October, 1880, Lord and Lady Waldegrave came with their Scotch 
maid, Helen Alexander, to stay with us. [The account then describes how 
Helen was discovered to have caught typhoid fever.] She did not seem to 
be very ill in spite of it, and as there seemed no fear of danger, and Lord 
and Lady Waldegrave had to go a long journey the following day (Thurs- 
day), they decided to leave her, as they were advised to do, under their 
friends' care. 

" The illness ran its usual course, and she seemed to be going on per- 
fectly well till the Sunday week following, when the doctor told me that 
the fever had left her, but the state of weakness which had supervened was 
such as to make him extremely anxious. I immediately engaged a regular 
nurse, greatly against the wish of Reddell, my maid, who had been her 
chief nurse all through the illness, and who was quite devoted to her. 
However, as the nurse could not conveniently come till the following day, 
I allowed Reddell to sit up with Helen again that night, to give her the 
medicine and food, which were to be taken constantly. 

" At about 4.30 that night, or rather Monday morning, Reddell looked 
at her watch, poured out the medicine, and was bending over the bed to 
give it to Helen, when the call-bell in the passage rang. She said to herself, 
' There's that tiresome bell with the wire caught again.' (It seems it did 
occasionally ring of itself in this manner.) At that moment, however, she 
heard the door open, and, looking round, saw a very stout old woman walk 
in. She was dressed in a nightgown and red flannel petticoat, and carried 
an old-fashioned brass candlestick in her hand. The petticoat had a hole 
rubbed in it. She walked into the room, and appeared to be going toM^ards 
the dressing-table to put her candle down. She was a perfect stranger to 
Reddell, who, however, merely thought, ' This is her mother come to see 
after her,' and she felt quite glad it was so, accepting the idea without 
reasoning upon it, as one would in a dream. She thought the mother looked 
annoyed, possibly at not having been sent for before. She then gave 
Helen the nedicine, and turning round, found that the apparition had 
disappeared, and that the door was shut. A great change, meanwhile, had 


taken place in Helen, and Reddell fetched me, who sent off for the doctor, 
and meanwhile applied hot poultices, &c., but Helen died a little before 
the doctor came. She was quite conscious up to about half an hour before 
she died, when she seemed to be going to sleep. 

" During the early days of her illness Helen had written to a sister, 
mentioning her being unwell, but making nothing of it, and as she never 
mentioned anyone but this sister, it was supposed by the household, to 
whom she was a perfect stranger, that she had no other relation alive. 
Reddell was always offering to write for her, but she always declined, 
saying there was no need, she would write herself in a day or two. No 
one at home, therefore, knew anything of her being so ill, and it is, there- 
fore, remarkable that her mother, a far from nervous person, should have 
said that evening going up to bed, ' I am sure Helen is very ill.' 

" Reddell told me and my daughter of the apparition, about an hour 
after Helen's death, prefacing with, ' I am not superstitious, or nervous, 
and I wasn't the least frightened, but her mother came last night,' and she 
then told the story, giving a careful description of the figure she had seen. 
The relations were asked to come to the funeral, and the father, mother, 
and sister came, and in the mother Reddell recognised the apparition, as I 
did also, for Reddell's description had been most accurate, even to the 
expression, which she had ascribed to annoyance, but which was due to 
deafness. It was judged best not to speak about it to the mother, but 
Reddell told the sister, who said the description of the figure corresponded 
exactly with the probable appearance of her mother if roused in the night ; 
that they had exactly such a candlestick at home, and that there was a 
hole in her mother's petticoat produced by the way she always wore it. It 
seems curious that neither Helen nor her mother appeared to be aware of 
the visit. Neither of them, at any rate, ever spoke of having seen the 
other, nor even of having dreamt of having done so. 

" F. A. Pole-Carew." 

Frances Reddelt states that she has never had any hallucination, or 
any odd experience of any kind, except on this one occasion. The Hon. 
Mrs. Lyttelton, of Selwyn College, Cambridge, who knows her, tells us 
that " she appears to be a most matter-of-fact person, and was appar- 
ently most impressed by the fact that she saw a hole in the mother's 
flannel petticoat, made by the busk of her stays, reproduced in the 

Mrs. Pole-Carew's evidence goes far to stamp this occurrence as having 
been something more than a mere subjective hallucination. But it will be 
observed that there is some doubt as to who was the agent. Was it the 
mother ? If so, we find nothing more definite on the agent's part, as a 
basis for the distant effect, than a certain amount of anxiety as to her 
daughter's condition ; while the fact that Reddell and she were totally 
unknown to one another, would show, even more conclusively than the 
two preceding narratives, that a special personal rapport between the 
parties is not a necessary .condition for spontaneous telepathic transference. 
Thus regarded, the case would considerably resemble the instance 
of local rapport last quoted — the condition of the telepathic impression 
being presumably the common occupation of the mind of both agent and 
percipient with one subject, the dying girl. But it is also conceivable that 
Helen herself was the agent ; and that in her dying condition a flash of 
memory of her mother's aspect conveyed a direct impulse to the mind of 
her devoted nurse. 


The last five cases have all been recent. I will now give an example 
which is 70 years old. It will show the value that even remote evidence 
may have, if proper care is exercised at the time ; and it points the moral 
which must be enforced ad naiiseam, as to the importance of an immediate 
written record on the percipient's part. The account was received from 
Mrs. Browne, of 58, Porchester Terrace, W. On May 29th, 1884, Mr. 
Podmore wrote : — 

" May 29th, 1884. 

(31) " I called to-day on Mrs. Browne, and saw (i) a document in tlie 
handwriting of her mother, Mrs. Carslake (now dead), which purported 
to be a copy of a memorandum made by Mrs. Browne's father, the late 
Captain John Carslake, of Sidmouth. Appended to this was (2) a note, 
also in Mrs. Carslake's handwriting, and signed by her ; and (3) a copy, 

also in Mrs. Carslake's handwriting, of a letter from the Rev. E. B r, 

of Sidmouth. 

" Mrs. Browne told me that, as far as she knows, the originals of (i) and 
(3) are no longer in existence. 

" Document (4) is a note from Mrs. Browne herself. 

" The Middleburg referred to is apparently the town of that name in 
the Netherlands." 


" Thursday, July the 6th, 1815. — On returning to-day from Middle- 
burg with Captain T., I was strongly impressed with the idea that between 
2 and 3 I saw my uncle John cross the road, a few paces before me, and 
pass into a lane on the left leading to a mill, called Oily Moulin, and that 
when he arrived at the edge of the great road, he looked round an,d 
beckoned to me. 

" Query. — As he has long been dangerously ill, may not this be con- 
sidered as an omen of his having died about this time ? 

" John Carslake." 

" He had not been thinking of his uncle, but talking with Captain T. 
about a sale where they had been ; he was quite silent afterwards, and 
would not tell the reason. On going on board, he went to his cabin and 
wrote the time he saw his uncle, and wrote to Mr. B. 

" T. Carslake." 

" Long, in all probability, before this can reach you, you will have 
been informed that, precisely at the minute in which his apparition crossed 
your path in the neighbourhood of Middleburg, your dear and venerable 
uncle expired. I think it proves, beyond all contradiction, that his last 
and affectionate thoughts were fixed on you. The fact you have stated 
is the strongest of the kind, in which I could place such full confidence 
in the parties, that / ever knew. — E. B." 

[Judging from Mr. Carslake's own account, it seems unlikely that the 
writer of this can have known the coincidence to have been as close as he 


" May 29th, 1884. 

" I remember more than once hearing this story, exactly as it is told 
here, from my father's own lips. I remember that he added that the 
figure wore a peculiar hat, which he recognised as being like one worn 
by his uncle. " T. L. Browne." 


The next example repeats the peculiarity that the percipient's im- 
pression, though unique in his experience, did not at the moment suggest 
the agent ; but it differs, as will be seen, from Frances Reddell's case. 
We received it from the Rev. Robert Bee, now residing at 12, Whitworth 
Road, Grangetown, near Southbank, Yorkshire. 

" Colin Street, Wigan. 

" December 30th, 1883. 

(32) " On December i8th, 1873, I left my house in Lincolnshire to 
visit my wife's parents, then and now residing in Lord Street, Southport. 
Both my parents were, to all appearance, in good health when I started. 
The next day after my arrival was spent in leisurely observation of the 
manifold attractions of this fashionable seaside resort. I spent the evening 
in company with my wife in the bay-windowed drawing-room upstairs, 
which fronts the main street of the town. I proposed a game at chess, 
and v/e got out the board and began to play. Perhaps half an hour had 
been thus occupied by us, during which I had made several very foolish 
mistakes. A deep melancholy was oppressing me. At length I remarked ; 
' It is no use my trying to play, I cannot for the life think about what I 
am doing. Shall we shut it up and resume our talk ? I feel literally 

" ' Just as you like,' said my wife, and the board was at once put 

" This was about half -past 7 o'clock ; and after a few minutes' 
desultory conversation, my wife suddenly remarked : ' I feel very dull 
to-night. I think I will go downstairs to mamma, for a few minutes.' 

" Soon after my wife's departure, I rose from my chair, and walked in 
the direction of the drawing-room door. Here I paused for a moment, 
and then passed out to the landing of the stairs. 

" It was then exactly 10 minutes to 8 o'clock. I stood for a moment 
upon the landing, and a lady, dressed as if she were going on a business 
errand, came out, apparently, from an adjoining bedroom, and passed close 
by me. I did not distinctly see her features, nor do I remember what it 
was that I said to her. 

" The form passed down the narrow winding stairs, and at the same 
instant my wife came up again, so that she must have passed close to the 
stranger, in fact, to all appearance, brushed against her. 

" I exclaimed, almost immediately, ' Who is the lady, Polly, that you 
passed just now, coming up ? ' 

" Never can I forget, or account for, my wife's answer. ' I passed 
nobody,' she said. 

" ' Nonsense,' I replied ; ' You met a lady just now, dressed for a walk. 
She came out of the little bedroom. I spoke to her. She must be a 
visitor staying with your mother. She has gone out, no doubt, at the 
front door.' 

" ' It is impossible,' said my wife. ' There is not any company in the 
house. They all left nearly a week ago. There is no one in fact at all 
indoors, but ourselves and mamma.' 

" ' Strange,' I said ; ' I am certain that I saw and spoke to a lady, just 
before you came upstairs, and I saw her distinctly pass you ;^ so that it 
seems incredible that you did not perceive her.' 

' ' My wife positively asserted that the thing was impossible. We went 

* In conversation Mr. Bee reiterated to me his certainty as to having seen the 
two figures simultaneously. 


downstairs together, and I related the story to my wife's mother, who was 
busy with her household duties. She confirmed her daughter's previous 
statement. There was no one in the house but ourselves. 

" The next morning, early, a telegram reached me from Lincolnshire ; 
it was from my eldest sister, Julia (Mrs. T. W. Bowman, of Prospect House, 
Stechford, Birmingham), and announced the afflicting intelligence that 
our dear mother had passed suddenly away the night before ; and that 
we {i.e., myself and wife) were to return home to Gainsborough by the 
next train. The doctor said it was heart-disease, which in a few minutes 
had caused her death." 

After giving some details of his arrival at home, and of the kindness of 
friends, Mr. Bee continues : — 

" When all was over and Christmas Day had arrived, I ventured to 
ask my brother the exact moment of our mother's death. 

" ' Well, father was out,' he said, ' at the school-room, and I did not see 
her alive. Julia was just in time to see her breathe her last. It was, as 
nearly as I can recollect, lo minutes to 8 o'clock.' 

" I looked at my wife for a moment, and then said : ' Then I saw her 
in Southport, and can now account, unaccountably, for my impressions.' 

" Before the said 19th of December I was utterly careless of these 
things ; I had given little or no attention to spiritual apparitions or 
impressions. " Robt. Bee." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Bee adds : — 

" My mother died in her dress and boots ; she was taken ill in the 
street, and had to be taken to a neighbour's house in Gainsborough a few 
paces from her own house. The figure resembled my mother exactly as to 
size, dress, and appearance, but it did not recall her to my mind at the 
time. The light was not so dim that, if my mother had actually passed me 
in flesh and blood, I should not have recognised her." 

We learn from the obituary notice in the Lincolnshire Chronicle that 
Mr. Bee's mother died on December 19, 1873, in Mr. Smithson's shop, 
in Gainsborough, of heart-disease ; and that her usual health was pretty 

In answer to the question whether this is the only case of hallucination 
that he has experienced, Mr. Bee answers " Yes." 

He further adds : — 

" The gas light over the head of the stairway shone within a frosted 
globe, and was probably not turned on fully. 

" The fact is, there was ample light to see the figure in, but just as 
the face might have been turned to me, or was turned to me, I could not, 
or did not, clearly discern it. Many, many times, my regret and dis- 
appointment when I recall this fact have been deeply felt." 

Mrs. Bee writes to us as follows :— 

" January 9th, 1884. 

" If anything I can say to you will be of any use, I will willingly give 
my testimony to all my husband has said. I remember perfectly ten years 
ago my visit to my mother's, and my husband's unaccountable restlessness 
on the particular evening mentioned, also Mr. Bee asking me, after I had 
been downstairs, if I had met a lady on the stairs. I said, ' No, I do not 
think there is anyone in the house but us.' Mr. Bee then said, ' Well, a 
lady has passed me just now on the landing ; she came out of the small 
bedroom and went downstairs ; she was dressed in a black bonnet and 
shawl.' I said, ' Nonsense, you must be mistaken.' He said, ' I am 



certain I am not, and I assure you I feel very queer.' I then went to ask 
mamma if there was anyone in the house, and she said no, only ourselves ; 
still Mr. Bee insisted someone had passed him on the landing, although we 
tried to reason him out of it. 

" In the morning while we were in bed, we received a telegram stating 
that Mrs. Bee had died suddenly the night before. I said at once, ' Robert, 
that was your mother you saw last night,' He said it was. When we got 
to Gainsborough we asked what time she died ; we were told about lo 
minutes to 8, which was the exact time ; also that she was taken suddenly 
ill in the street (wearing at the time a black bonnet and shawl) and died 
in lo minutes. « ^j^^^y Ann Bee." 

Mrs. Bourne, a sister of Mr. Bee's, writes to us : — 

" Eastgate Lodge, Lincoln. 

" October 2nd, 1885. 
" My mother died on December 19th, 1873, about 10 minutes to 8 in 
the evening ; it might be a little later or a little earlier. Her attack 
resembled a fainting fit, and lasted from 30 to 40 minutes. At the com- 
mencement of it, she said a few words to my sister, when I was not present ; 
afterwards I believe she never opened her eyes or spoke again, though we 
tried our utmost to induce her to do so. <> Marian Bourne " 

If this case is accurately reported, the figure seen cannot be supposed 
to have been a real person ; for — to say nothing of the unlikelihood that 
a strange lady would be on the upper floor on some unknown errand — 
Mrs. Bee, who seemed to her husband to come into actual contact with 
the figure, could hardly have failed to observe that some one passed her 
on the stairs. The fact that the form did not at the moment suggest 
Mr. Bee's mother tends, no doubt, to weaken the case as evidence for 
telepathy, to this extent — that if a person has the one hallucination of 
his life at the moment that a near relative dies, this singular coincidence 
may with less violence be ascribed to accident if the hallucination is 
merely an appearance — an unrecognised figure — than if it is the appear- 
ance of that particular relative. The phantasm not being individualised, 
the conditions for the operation of chance are so far widened. Still, there 
are two strong evidential points. The coincidence of time seems to have 
been precise ; and the resemblance to the supposed agent "as to size, 
dress, and appearance " is described as exact. As for any theoretic 
difficulty that might be felt in the fact of non-recognition, I will make at 
this point only one remark. If we are prepared (as experiment has pre- 
pared us) to admit that telepathic impressions need not even affect con- 
sciousness at all — if it is possible for some of them to remain completely 
unfelt — it does not seem specially surprising that others should issue on 
the mental stage with various degrees of distinctness and complete- 

§ 7. So much for visual examples. I will now give an illustration of 
externalised impressions of the auditory sort. The case differs in another 
respect from the foregoing visual examples ; for though, as in most of 
them, the agent died, the percipient's experience preceded the death by 
some hours ; and that being so, we must clearly connect this experience 
with the serious condition in which her friend actually was, not with that 


in which he was about to be. The narrative is from a lady who prefers 
that her name and address should not be published. She is a person of 
thorough good sense, and with no appetite for marvels. 

" 1884. 

(33) " On the morning of October 27th, 1879, being in perfect health 
and having been awake for some considerable time, I heard myself called 
by my Christian name by an anxious and suffering voice, several times in 
succession. I recognised the voice as that of an old friend, almost play- 
fellow, but who had not been in my thoughts for many weeks, or even 
months. I knew he was with his regiment in India, but not that he had 
been ordered to the front, and nothing had recalled him to my recollection. 
Within a few days I heard of his death from cholera on the morning I 
seemed to hear his call. The impression was so strong I noted the date 
and fact in my diary before breakfast." 

In answer to inquiries, the narrator says : — 

" I was never conscious of any other auditory hallucination whatever. 
I do not think I mentioned the subject to any one, as I believe we had 
friends with us. I still have my diary preserved." 

The present writer has seen the page of the diary, and the reference to 
the strange experience, under the date of Monday, October 27th, 1879. 

We find from the East India Service Register for January, 1880, that 
the death of Captain John B., Native Infantry (Bombay Division), took 
place on October 27th, 1879, at Jhelum. (This is the gentleman referred 
to in the account.) The Times obituary of November 4th, 1879, mentions 
that the death was due to cholera. 

Our informant was requested to find out the exact hour of the death, 
and learnt that it took place, not in the morning, as she had supposed, 
but at 10 p.m. (about 5 p.m. in England). She adds : " So that would not 
make the time agree with the hour of hearing his call. The cry may have 
come, however, when the illness began first." 

In the last-quoted visual example, the figure seen was unrecognised. 
I will now give a parallel auditory case, where the sound heard by the 
percipient suggested at the moment no particular person. The account 
is from a gentleman of good position, whom I must term Mr. A. Z. He is 
as far removed as possible from superstition, and takes no general interest 
in the subject. He has given us the full names of all the persons concerned, 
but is unwilling that they should be published, on account of the painful 
character of the event recorded. 

" May, 1885. 

(34) " In 1876, I was living in a small agricultural parish in the East 
of England, one of my neighbours at the time being a young man, S. B.,* 
who had recently come into the occupation of a large farm in the place. 
Pending the alteration of his house, he lodged and boarded with his groom 
at the other end of the village, furthest removed from my own residence, 
which was half a mile distant and separated by many houses, gardens, a 
plantation, and farm buildings. He was fond of field sports, and spent 
much of his spare time during the season in hunting. He was not a 
personal friend of mine, only an acquaintance, and I felt no interest in 
him except as a tenant on the esta^te. I have asked him occasionally to 

1 These are not the right initials of the name. 


my house, as a matter of civility, but to the best of my recollection was 
never inside his lodgings. 

" One afternoon in March, 1876, when leaving, along with my wife, 
our railway station to walk home, I was accosted by S. B. ; he accompanied 
us as far as my front^^ate, where he kept us in conversation for some 
time, but on no special subject. I may now state that the distance from 
this gate, going along the carriage drive, to the dining and breakfast room 
windovv'S is about 60 yards ; both the windows of these rooms face the 
north-east and are parallel with the carriage drive. ^ On S. B. taking leave 
of us my wife remarked, ' Young B. evidently wished to be asked in, but 
I thought you would not care to be troubled with him.' Subsequently— 
about half an hour later — I again met him, and, as I was then on my way 
to look at some work at a distant part of the estate, asked him to walk 
with me, which he did. His conversation was of the ordinary character ; 
if anything, he seemed somewhat depressed at the bad times and the low 
prices of farming produce. I remember he asked me to give him some 
wire rope to make a fence on his farm, which I consented to do. Return- 
ing from our walk, and on entering the village, I pulled up at the cross- 
roads to say good evening, the road to his lodgings taking him at right 
angles to mine. I was surprised to hear him say, ' Come and smoke a 
cigar with me to-night.' To which I replied, ' I cannot very well, I am 
engaged this evening.' ' Do come,' he said. ' No,' I replied, ' I will look 
in another evening.' And with this we parted. We had separated about 
40 yards when he turned around and exclaimed, ' Then if you will not 
come, good-b^^e.' This was the last time I saw him alive. 

" I spent the evening in my dining-room in writing, and for some hours 
I may say that probably no thought of young B. passed through my mind. 
The night was bright and clear, full or nearly full moon, still, and without 
wind. Since I had come in slight snow had fallen, just sufficient to make 
the ground show white. 

" At about 5 minutes to 10 o'clock I got up and left the room, taking 
up a lamp from the hall table, and replacing it on a small table standing in 
a recess of the window in the breakfast-room. The curtains were not 
drawn across the window. I had just taken down from the nearest book- 
case a volume of ' Macgillivray's British Birds ' for reference, and was in 
the act of reading the passage, the book held close to the lamp, and my 
shoulder touching the window shutter, and in a position in which almost 
the slightest outside sound would be heard, when I distinctly heard the 
front gate opened and shut again with a clap, and footsteps advancing at 
a run up the drive ; when opposite the window the steps changed from 
sharp and distinct on gravel to dull and less clear on the grass slip below 
the window, and at the same time I was conscious that someone or some- 
thing stood close to me outside, only the thin shutter and a sheet of glass 
dividing us. I could hear the quick panting laboured breathing of the 
messenger, or whatever it was, as if trying to recover breath before 
speaking. Had he been attracted by the light through the shutter ? 
Suddenly, like a gunshot, inside, outside, and all around, there broke out 
the most appalling shriek — a prolonged wail of horror, which seemed to 
freeze the blood. It was not a single shriek, but more prolonged, com- 
mencing in a high key, and then less and less, wailing away towards the 
north, and becoming weaker and weaker as it receded in sobbing pulsations 
of intense agony. Of my fright and horror I can say nothing — increased 
tenfold when I walked into the dining-room and found my wife sitting 

^ The position of the house, as I found on visiting it, is particularly retired and 


quietly at her work close to the window, in the same line and distant only 
10 or 12 feet from the corresponding window in the breakfast-room. She 
had heard nothing. I could see that at once ; and from the position in 
which she v,'as sitting, I knew she could not have failed to hear any noise 
outside and an}' footstep on the gravel. Perceiving I was alarmed about 
something, she asked, ' \^^lat is the matter ? ' ' Only someone outside,' I 
said. ' Then why do you not go out and see ? You always do when you 
hear any unusual noise.' I said, ' There is something so queer and dreadful 
about the noise. I dare not face it. It must have been the Banshee 

" Young S. B., on leaving me, v^^ent home to his lodgings. He spent 
most of the evening on the sofa, reading one of Whyte Melville's novels.^ 
He saw his groom at g o'clock and gave him orders for the following day. 
The groom and his wife, who were the only people in the house besides 
S. B., then went to bed. 

" At the inquest the groom stated that when about falling asleep, he 
was suddenly aroused by a shriek, and on running into his master's room 
found him expiring on the floor. It appeared that young B. had undressed 
upstairs, and then came down to his sitting-room in trousers and night- 
shirt, had poured out half a glass of water, into which he emptied a small 
bottle of prussic acid (procured that morning under the plea of poisoning 
a dog, which he did not possess). He walked upstairs, and on entering 
his room drank off the glass, and with a scream fell dead on the floor. All 
this happened, as near as I can ascertain, at the exact time when I had 
been so much alarmed at my own house. It is utterly impossible that any 
sound short of a cannon shot could have reached me from B.'s lodgings, 
through closed windows and doors, and the many intervening obstacles of 
houses and gardens, farmsteads and plantations, &c. 

" Having to leave home by the early train, I was out very soon on the 
following morning, and on going to examine the ground beneath the 
window found no footsteps on grass or drive, still covered with the slight 
sprinkling of snow which had fallen on the previous evening. 

" The whole thing had been a dream of the moment — an imagination, 
call it what you will ; I simply state these facts as they occurred, without 
attempting any explanation, which, indeed, I am totallj' unable to give. 
The entire incident is a mystery-, and will ever remain a mystery to me. I 
did not hear the particulars of the tragedy till the following afternoon, 
having left home by an early train. The motive of suicide was said to be 
a love affair." 

In a subsequent letter dated June 12th, 1885, Mr. A. Z. says : — 

" The suicide took place in this on Thursday night, March 9th, 
1876, at or about 10 p.m. The inquest was held on Saturday, nth, by 
— — , the then coroner. He has been dead some years, or I might perhaps 
have been able to obtain a copy of his notes then taken. You will prob- 
ably find some notice of the inquest in the of March 17th. I did 

not myself hear any particulars of the event till my return home on Friday 
afternoon, 17 hours afterwards. The slight snow fell about 8 o'clock 
—not later. After this the night was bright and fine, and very still. There 
was also a rather sharp frost. I have evidence of all this to satisfy any 

" I went early the next morning under the window to look for foot- 
steps, just before leaving home for the day. Perhaps it is not quite 
correct to call it snow ; it was small frozen sleet and hail, and the grass 
blades just peeped through, but there was quite enough to have shown any 
steps had there been any. 


" I was not myself at the inquest, so in that case only speak from 
hearsay. In my narrative I say the groom was awoke by ' a shriek.' I 
have asked the man [name given], and cross-questioned him closely on this 
point ; and it is more correct to say by ' a series of noises ending in a 
crash ' or ' heavy fall.' This is most probably correct, as the son of the 
tenant [name given], living in the next house, was aroused by the same 
sort of sound coming through the wall of the house into the adjoining 
bedroom in which he was sleeping. 

" I do not, however, wish it to be undex'stood that any material noises 
heard in that house or the next had any connection with the peculiar noises 
and scream which frightened me so much, as an^^one knowing the locality 
must admit at once the impossibility of such sounds travelling under any 
conditions through intervening obstacles. I only say that the scene 
enacted in the one was coincident with my alarm and the phenomena 
attending it in the other. 

" I find by reference to the book of , chemist, of — , that the 

poison was purchased by young S.B., on March 8th. I enclose a note from 
Mrs. A. Z., according to your request." 

The enclosed note, signed by Mrs. A. Z., also dated June 12th, 1885, 
is as follows :— 

" I am able to testify that on the night of March gth, 1876, about 10 
o'clock, my husband, who had gone into the adjoining room to consult a 
book, was greatly alarmed by sounds which he heard, and described as 
the gate clapping, footsteps on the drive and grass, and heavy breathing 
close to the window — then a fearful screaming. 

" I did not hear anything. He did not go to look round the house, as 
he would have done at any other time, and when I afterwards asked him 
why he did not go out, he replied, ' Because I felt I could not.' On going 
to bed he took his gun upstairs ; and when I asked him why, said, 
' Because there must be someone about.' 

" He left home early in the morning, and did not hear of the suicide 
of Mr. S. B. until the afternoon of that day." 

An article which we have seen in a local newspaper, describing the 
suicide and inquest, confirms the above account of them. 

Asked if he had had any similar affections which had not corresponded 
with reality, Mr. A. Z. replied in the negative. 

The criticism made on Mr. Bee's case will of course apply again here ; 
the percipient's failure to connect his impression with the agent is, pro 
ianto, an evidential defect. But the fact remains that he received an im- 
pression of a vividly distressful and horrible kind — of a type, too, rarely 
met with as a purely subjective hallucination among sane and healthy 
persons 1 — at the very time that his companion of a few hours back was 
in the agony of a supreme crisis. 

§ 8. Telepathic impressions of the sense of touch are naturally hard to 
establish, unless some other sense is also affected. In -Ehe cases in our 
collection, at all events, a mere impression of touch has rarely, if ever, 
been sufficiently remarkable or distinctive for purposes of evidence. The 
case, therefore, which I select to illustrate tactile impression is one where 
the sense of hearing was also concerned. And the example, as it happens, 
will serve a double purpose ; for it will also illustrate the phenomenon of 

^ See Chap. xi.. § 4. 


reciprocality , which, as I have said, we make the basis of a separate class 
(F). The narrator is again the Rev. P. H. Newnham, of whose telepathic 
rapport with his wife we have had such striking experimental proof, and 
who describes himself as " an utter sceptic, in the true sense of the word." 

(35) " In March, 1854, I was up at Oxford, keeping my last term, in 
lodgings. I was subject to violent neuralgic headaches, which always 
culminated in sleep. One evening, about 8 p.m., I had an unusually 
violent one ; when it became unendurable, about 9 p.m., I went into 
my bedroom, and flung myself, without undressing, on the bed, and soon 
fell asleep. 

" I then had a singularly clear and vivid dream, all the incidents of 
which are still as clear to my memory as ever. I dreamed that I was 
stopping with the family of the lady who subsequently became my wife. 
All the younger ones had gone to bed, and I stopped chatting to the father 
and mother, standing up by the fire-place. Presently I bade them good- 
night, took my candle, and went off to bed. On arriving in the hall, I 
perceived that my fiancee had been detained downstairs, and was only 
then near the top of the staircase. I rushed upstairs, overtook her on 
the top step, and passed my two arms round her waist, under her arms, 
from behind. Although I was carrying my candle in my left hand, 
when I ran upstairs, this did not, in my dream, interfere with this 

" On this I woke, and a clock in the house struck 10 almost immediately 

" So strong was the impression of the dream that I wrote a detailed 
account of it next morning to my fiancee. 

" Crossing my letter, not in answer to it, I received a letter from the 
lady in question : ' Were you thinking about me, very specially, last 
night, just about 10 o'clock ? For, as I was going upstairs to bed, I 
distinctly heard your footsteps on the stairs, and felt you put your arms 
round my waist.' 

" The letters in question are now destroyed, but we verified the state- 
ment made therein some years later, when we read over our old letters, 
previous to their destruction, and we found that our personal recollections 
had not varied in the least degree therefrom. The above narratives may, 
therefore, be accepted as absolutely accurate. " p_ jj. Newnham." 

x\sked if his wife has ever had any other hallucinations, Mr. Newnham 
replied, " No, Mrs. N. never had any fancy of either myself or any one 
else being present on any other occasion." 

The following is Mrs. Newnham's account : — 

" June 9th, 1884. 

" I remember distinctly the circumstance which my husband has 
described as corresponding with his dream. I was on my way up to bed, 
as usual, about 10 o'clock, and on reaching the first landing I heard 
distinctly the footsteps of the gentleman to whom I was engaged, quickly 
mounting the stairs after me, and then I as plainly felt him put his arms 
round my waist. So strong an impression did this make upon me that I 
wrote the very next morning to the gentleman, asking if he had been 
particularly thinking of me at 10 o'clock the night before, and to my 
astonishment I received (at the same time that my letter would reach 
him) a letter from him describing his dream, in almost the same words 
that I had used in describing my impression of his presence. 

" M. Newnham." 


[It is unfortunate that the actual letters cannot be put in evidence. 
But Mr. Newnham's distinct statement that the letters were examined, 
and the coincidence verified, some years after the occurrence, strongly 
confirms his own and his wife's recollections of the original incident.] 

In this case it would, no doubt, be possible to suppose that Mr. Newn- 
ham was the sole agent, and that his normal dream was the source of his 
fiancee's abnormal hallucination. But it is at least equally natural to 
suppose a certain amount of reciprocal percipience — a mutual influence 
of the two parties on one another. We shall meet with more conclusive 
examples of the mutual effect further on ; and it need in no way disturb 
our conception of telepathy. For if once the startling fact that A's mind 
can affect B's at a distance be admitted, there seems no d priori reason for 
either affirming or denying that the conditions of this affection are favour- 
able to a reverse telepathic communication from B's mind to A's. In- 
deed, if in our ignorance of the nature of these conditions any sort of 
surmise were legitimate, it might perhaps rather lean to the probability 
of the reciprocal influence ; and the natural question might seem to be, 
not why this feature is present, but why it is so generally absent. Mean- 
while it is enough to note the type, and observe that the telepathic theory, 
as so far evolved, will sufficiently cover it. 

§ 9. Finally, the class of collective percipience (G) may be illustrated 
by an instance which (since visual cases have preponderated in this 
chapter) I will again select from the auditory group. It was received in 
the summer of 1885, from Mr. John Done, of Stockley Cottage, Stretton, 

(36) " My sister-in-law, Sarah Eustance, of Stretton, was lying sick 
unto death, and my wife was gone over to there from Lowton Chapel (12 
or 13 miles off) to see her and tend her in her last moments. And on the 
night before her death (some 12 or 14 hours before) I was sleeping at 
home alone, and, awaking, heard a voice distinctly call me. Thinking it 
was my niece, Rosanna, the only other occupant of the house, who might 
be sick or in trouble, I went to her room and found her awake and nervous. 
I asked her whether she had called me. She answered, ' No ; but some- 
thing awoke me, when I heard someone calling ! ' 

" On my wife returning home after her sister's death, she told me how 
anxious her sister had been to see me, ' craving for me to be sent for,' 
and saying, ' Oh, how I want to see Done once more ! ' and soon after 
became speechless. But the curious part was that about the same time 
she was ' craving,' I and my niece heard the call. " John Done." 

In a subsequent letter Mr. Done writes :™ 

" In answer to your queries respecting the voice or call that I heard 
on the night of Jiily 2nd, 1866, I must explain that there was a strong 
sympathy and affection between myself and my sister-in-law, of pure 
brotherly and sisterly love ; and that she was in the habit of calling me 
by the title of ' Uncle Done,' in the manner of a husband calling his wife 
' mother ' when there are children, as in this case. Hence the call being 
' Uncle, uncle, uncle ! ' leading me to think that it was my niece (the only 
other occupant of the house that Sunday night) calling to me. 

" Copy of funeral card : ' In remembrance of the late Sarah Eustance, 


who died July 3rd, 1866, aged 45 years, and was this day interred at 
Stretton Church, July 6th, 1866.' 

" My wife, who went from Lowton that particular Sunday to see her 
sister, will testify that as she attended upon her (after the departure of 
the minister), during the night she was wishing and craving to see me, 
repeatedly saying, ' Oh, I wish I could see Uncle Done and Rosie once 
more before I go ! ' and soon after then she became unconscious, or at 
least ceased speaking, and died the next day ; of which fact I was not 
aware until my wife returned on the evening of the 4th of July. 

" I hope my niece will answer for me ; however, I may state that she 
reminds me that she thought I was calling her and was coming to me, 
when she met me in the passage or landing, and I asked her if she called 

" I do not remember ever hearing a voice or call besides the above 

On August 7th, 1885, Mr. Done writes :— 

" My wife being sick and weak of body, dictates the following state- 
ment to me : — 

" I, Elizabeth Done, wife' of John Done, and aunt to Rosanna Done 
(now Sewill), testify that, on the 2nd of Juty, 1866, I was attending 
upon my dying sister, Sarah Eustance, at Stretton, 12 miles from my 
home at Lowton Chapel, Newton le Willows ; when during the night 
previous to her death, she craved for me to send for my husband and 
niece, as she wished to see them once more before she departed hence, 
saying often ' Oh, I wish Done and Rosie were here. Oh, I do long to 
see Uncle Done.' Soon after she became speechless and seemingly uncon- 
scious, and died some time during the day following. 

" Elizabeth Done." 

Mr. Done adds ; — 

" Several incidents have come to my mind, one of which is that, 
feeling unsettled in my mind during the day after having heard the voice 
calling me, and feeling a presentiment that my dear sister-in-law was dead, 
I, towards evening, set off to meet a train at Newton Bridge, which I 
believed my wife would come by, returning home, if her sister was dead 
as I expected. There was an understanding that she was to stay at Stretton 
to attend upon Mrs. Eustance until her demise or convalescence. 

" I met my wife some few hundred yards from the station, and could 
see by her countenance that my surmises were correct. She then told me 
the particulars of her sister's death, how she longed to see me and Rosanna. 
I then told her of our being called by a voice resembling hers soma time 
in the night previous, when she (my wife) said she (Mrs. Eustance) often 
repeated our names during the night before becoming unconscious." 

The niece, Mrs. Sewill, writes as follows : — 

" II, Smithdown Lane, Paddington, Liverpool. 

" August 2ist, 1885. 

" At my uncle's and your request, I write to confirm the statement of 

uncle respecting the voice I heard, as follows : I was awakened suddenly 

without apparent cause, and heard a voice call me distinctly, thus, 

' Rosy, Rosy, Rosy ! '^ Thinking it was my uncle calling, I rose and went 

^ Each of the ])ercipieuts, it will be noted, heard his or her own name. This 
point receives its explanation in Chap, xii,, § 5. 


out of my room, and met my uncle coming to see if I was calling him.^ 
We were the only occupants of the house that night, aunt being away 
attending upon her sister. The night I was called was between 2nd and 
3rd of July. 1866. I could not say the time I was called, but I know it 
was the break of day. I never was called before or since. 


[The last words — an answer to the question whether the narrator had 
ever experienced any other hallucination — perhaps need correction, as I 
learnt in conversation that on another occasion she (and two other persons 
in the same house) had been woke by a voice resembling that of a deceased 
relative. But she is by no means a fanciful or superstitious witness.] 

The percipients in this case may perhaps have been in a somewhat 
anxious and highly wrought state. Now that is a condition which — as 
we shall see in the sequel — tends occasionally to produce purely subjective 
hallucinations of the senses. It is true that the impression of a call which 
was imagined to be that of a healthy person close at hand, and was in no 
way suggestive of the dying woman, does not seem a likely form for sub- 
jective hallucination due to anxiety about her to take ; still, the presence 
of the anxiety would have prevented us from including such a case in our 
evidence, had only a single person been impressed. But it must be ad- 
mitted as a highly improbable accident that two startling impressions, so 
similar in character, and each unique in the life of the person who ex- 
perienced it, should have so exactly coincided. 

§ 10. The above may serve as examples of the several groups classified 
with reference to the nature of the percipient's impression. But it will be 
seen that the ageni has also been exhibited in a great variety of conditions 
— in normal waking health, in apparently dreamless sleep (pp. 83-8), in 
dream, in physical pain, in a swoon, in the excitement of danger, in 
dangerous illness, and in articulo mortis, the death being in one case 
accidental and instantaneous, in another the result of a sudden seizure, 
and in others the conclusion of a prolonged illness. And amid this variety 
the reader will, no doubt, have been struck by the large proportion of 
death cases — a proportion which duly represents their general preponder- 
ance among alleged cases of spontaneous telepathy. They constitute 
about half of our whole collection. Now this fact raises a question with 
respect to the interpretation of the phenomena which may be conveniently 
noticed at once since it bears an equal relation to nearly all the chapters 
that follow, while such answer as I can give to it depends to some extent 
on what has preceded. 

We are, of course, accustomed to regard death as a completely unique 
and incomparably important event ; and it might thus seem, on a super- 
ficial glance, that if spontaneous telepathy is possible, and the conditions 
and occasions of its occurrence are in question, no more likely occasion 
than death could be suggested. But on closer consideration, we are re- 
minded that the actual psychical condition that immediately precedes 
death often does not seem to be specially or at all remarkable, still less 

' Mrs. Sewill (who was 14 or 15 at the time) is certain that she is correct on this 
point ; and in conversation with her uncle, I found that his memory agrees with hers. 


unique ; and that it is this actual psychical condition — while it lasts, and 
not after it has ceased — that really concerns us here. Our subject is 
phantasms of the living : we seek the conditions of the telepathic impulse 
on the hither side of the dividing line, in the closing passage of life ; not 
in that huge negative fact — the apparent cessation or absence of life — on 
which the common idea of death and its momentous importance is based. 
And the closing passage of life, in some of the cases above quoted and in 
many others that are to follow, was, to all appearance, one of more or less 
complete lethargy ; a state which (on its psychical side at any rate) 
seems in no way distinguishable from one through which the agent has 
passed on numerous previous occasions — that of deep sleep. Nor are the 
cases which issue in death the only ones to which this remark applies ; in 
the more remarkable cases of Chapter III., the agent was actually in deep 
sleep ; Mrs. Bettany's mother was in a swoon (p. 138) ; and other similar 
instances will meet us. Here, then, there appears to be a real difficulty. 
For how can we attribute an extraordinary exercise of psychical energy to 
a state which on its psychical side is quite ordinary, and in which psychical 
and physical energies alike seem reduced to their lowest limits ? 

It may, no doubt, be replied that we have no right to assume that the 
psychical condition is ordinary ; that the nervous condition in the lethargy 
of approaching death, and even in a fainting-fit, may differ greatly from 
that of normal sleep, and that this difference may be somehow represented 
on the psychical side, even though the ostensible psychical condition is 
approximately nil. But a completer answer may possibly be found in 
some further development of the idea of the " unconscious intelligence " 
which was mentioned above (pp. 56, 57). We there noted stray manifes- 
tations of psychical action that seemed unconnected with the more or less 
coherent stream of experience which we recognise as a self ; and a prob- 
able relation of these was pointed out to those curious cases of " double 
consciousness," in which two more or less coherent streams of experience 
replace one another by turns, and the same person seems to have two 
selves. Many other cognate facts might be mentioned, which enable us 
to generalise to some extent the conceptions suggested by the more 
prominent instances. But since for present purposes the topic only 
concerns us at the point where it comes into contact with telepathy, I 
must ask the reader to seek those further facts elsewhere ; and to accept 
here the statement that the more these little-known paths of psychology 
are explored, the more difficult will it appear to round off the idea of 
personality, or to measure human existence by the limits of the phe- 
nomenal self.i Now the very nature of this difficulty cannot but suggest 

^ In addition to Dr. Azam's well-kuowu case of Felida, I may refer specially to 
Professor Verriest's " Observation de trois existences cerebrales distinctes chez le 
meme sujet," in the Bulletin de V AcadSmie Royale de Medicine de Belgique, 3rd 
series, vol. xvi. ; the case of Louis V , with his sis different personalities, re- 
ported by various French observers (Camuset, Annates Medico-psychologiques, 1882, 
p. 75; Jules Voisin, Archives de Neurologie, September, 1885; Bourru and Buret, 
Revue Philosophique, October, 1885, Archives de Neurologie, November, 1885) ; and 
the hypnotic experiments described by Mr. Myers, in his paper on " Human Person- 
lity," Proceedings of the S.P.R., Part x. A theoiy of the transcendental self, in 
its relation to various abnormal states, has been worked out at length in Du Prel's 
Philosopliir, dcr Mijslik (Leipzig, 1885). [Many additions could of course now be made 
to this list of references. — Ed.] 


a deeper solution than the mere connection of various streams of psychic 
life in a single organism. It suggests the hypothesis that a single indi- 
viduality may have its psychical being, so to speak, on different planes ; 
that the stray fragments of " unconscious intelligence," and the alter- 
nating selves of " double consciousness," belong really to a more funda- 
mental unity, which finds in what we call life very imperfect conditions 
of manifestation ; and that the self which ordinary men habitually regard 
as their proper individuality may after all be only a partial emergence. 
And this hypothesis would readily embrace and explain the special tele- 
pathic fact in question ; while itself drawing from that fact a fresh 
support. By its aid we can at once picture to ourselves how it should 
be that the near approach of death is a condition exceptionally favourable 
to telepathic action, even though vital faculties seem all but withdrawn, 
and the familiar self has lapsed to the very threshold of consciousness. 
For to the hidden and completer self the imminence of the great change 
may be apparent in its full and unique impressiveness ; nay, death itself 
may be recognised, for aught we can tell, not as a cessation but as a libera- 
tion of energy. But this line of thought, though worth pointing out as 
that along which the full account of certain phenomena of telepathy may 
in time be sought, is not one that I can here pursue. 



§ 1 . The advance-guard of cases in the last chapter has afforded a glance 
at the whole range of the phenomena. But I must now start on a meth- 
odical plan, and take the narratives in groups according to their subject- 
matter. The groups will follow the same order as the preceding specimens ; 
but though theoretically the best, this order has the practical disadvantage 
that it puts the weakest classes first. Of the two great divisions, the 
externalised impressions are by far the most remarkable in themselves, 
and by far the most conclusive as evidence ; but as they constitute the 
extreme examples of telepathic action, they are logically led up to through 
the non-externalised group, which presents more obvious analogies with 
the experimental basis of our inquiry. I must, therefore, beg the reader 
who may be disappointed by much of the evidence in this and the two 
following chapters, to note that it is no way presented as conclusive ; and 
that though it is well worthy of attention if the case for spontaneous 
telepathy is once made out, it is only when we come to the " borderland " 
examples of Chapter IX. that the strength of the case begins rapidly to 

The great point which connects many of the more inward impressions 
of spontaneous telepathy with the experimental cases is this — that what 
enters the percipient's mind is the exact reproduction of the agent's 
thought at the moment. It is to this class of direct transferences, 
especially between persons who are in close association with one another, 
that popular belief most readily inclines — as a rule, without any sufficient 
grounds. Nothing is commoner than to hear instances of sympathetic 
flashes between members of the same household— cases where one person 
suddenly makes the very remark that another was about to make — • 
adduced as evidence of some sort of supersensuous communication. But 
it is tolerably evident that a number of such " odd coincidences " are sure 
to occur in a perfectly normal way. Minds which are in habitual contact 
with one another will constantly react in the same way, even to the most 
trifling influences of the moment ; and the sudden word which proves 
them to have done so would have nothing startling in it, if the whole train 
of association that led up to it could be exposed to view. Moreover, 
physical signs which would be imperceptible to a stranger, may be easily 
and half-automatically interpreted by a familiar associate ; and thus 
what looks sometimes like divination may perfectly well be due to un- 
conscious inference. It is very rarely that conditions of this sort can be 
with certainty excluded. Still, experimental thought-transference would 
certainly prepare us to encounter the phenomenon occasionally in ordinary 



social and domestic life ; and one or two examples may be given which 
have a strong prima facie air of being genuine specimens. 

One frequent form of the alleged transferences is that of times. It is 
matter of very common observation that one person begins humming the 
very tune that is running in some one else's head. This admits, as a rule, 
of a perfectly simple explanation. It is easy to suppose that some special 
tune has been a good deal " in the air " of a house, half unconsciously 
hummed or whistled, as tunes often are, and that thus the coincidence is 
an .accident which maj'' very readily occur. At the same time, if the tele- 
pathic faculty exists tunes should apparently be a form of " thought " 
well calculated for transference. With many people the imagining of a 
tune is the sort of idea which comes nearest to the vividness of actual 
sensation. And, moreover, it contains not only the representation of 
sensory experience, but also a distinct motor element — an impulse to 
reproduction. A person with a musical ear can silently reproduce a tune, 
with such an inward force as almost produces the illusion of driving it 
into objective existence. Such an incident as the following therefore, 
where there is no question of a family knowledge of the tune, or of its 
having been in any way in the air, is of decided interest ; though, of 
course, the actual force of any single case of the sort is very small. We 
received the account from Sir Lepel Griffin, K. C.S.I. 

" 53 A, Pall Mall. 

" February 14th, 1884. 
(37) " Colonel Lyttleton Anneslej^ Commanding Officer of the nth 
Hussars, was staying in my house some time ago, and one afternoon, 
having nothing to do, we wandered into a large unoccupied room, given 
up to lumber and packing cases. Colonel A. was at one end of this long 
room reading, to the best of my recollection, while I opened a box, long 
forgotten, to see what it contained. I took out a number of papers and 
old music, which I was turning over in my hand, when I came across a 
song in which I, years before, had been accustomed to take a part, ' Dal 
tuo stellato soglio,' out of ' Mose in Egitto,' if I remember right. As I 
looked at this old song, Colonel A., who had been paying no attention 
whatever to my proceedings, began to hum, ' Dal tuo stellato soglio.' In 
much astonishment I asked him why he was singing that particular air. 
He did not know. He did not remember to have sung it before ; indeed 
I have not ever heard Colonel A. sing, though he is exceedingly fond of 
music. I told him that I was holding the very song in my hand. He 
was as much astonished as I had been, and had no knowledge that I had 
any music in my hand at all. I had not spoken to him, nor had I hummed 
the air, or given him any sign that I was looking over music. The incident 
is curious, for it is outside all explanation on the theory of coincidence." 

Later, Sir L Griffin wrote : — 

" 28th April, 1884. 

" I promised to write to you when I received a reply from General 
Lyttleton Annesley, to whom I had written, in the same words I had used 
to you, the little incident which struck you as noteworthy. I may mention 
that it had never formed the subject of conversation or correspondence 
between us from the day that it happened until now. He says : ' I 
perfectly recollect the incident you refer to about the song " Dal tuo 
stellato soglio." I had my back to you at the time you were taking out 


the music, and did not even know what you were doing. I was close 
to a window and you were at the bottom end of the room. In fact your 
account is exact to the minutest point.' " Lepel Griffin." 

We have other cases in which the transferred impression was not of a 
tune, but of a word or phrase, while still of apparently an auditory sort, 
conveying the sound of the word rather than its meaning. When the two 
persons concerned have been in close proximity, it is, of course, difficult 
to make sure that some incipient sound or movement of the lips, on the 
part of the supposed agent, did not supply an unconscious suggestion. 
But the following case cannot be so explained. We received it from 
Mr. J. G. Keulemans, who was mentioned above (p. 139) as having had 
a number of similar experiences. 

" November, 1882. 

(38) " In the summer of the year 1875, about eight in the evening, 
I was returning to my home in the HoUoway Road, on a tramcar, when it 
flashed into my mind that my assistant, Herr Schell, a Dutchman, who 
knew but little English (who was coming to see me that evening), would 
ask me what the English phrase, ' to wit,' meant in Dutch. So vivid was 
the impression that I mentioned it to my wife on arriving at my house, 
and I went so far as to scribble it down on the edge of a newspaper which 
I was reading. Ten minutes afterwards Schell arrived, and almost his 
first words were the inquiry, ' Wat is het HoUandsch voor " to wit " 7 ' 
(The words scribbled on the newspaper were not in his sight, and he was 
a good many yards from it.) I instantly showed him the paper, with the 
memorandum on it, saying, ' You see I was ready for you.' He told me 
that he had resolved to ask me just before leaving his house in Kentish 
Town, as he was intending that evening to do a translation of an English 
passage in which the words occurred. He was in the habit of making 
such translations in order to improve his knowledge of English. The time 
of his resolution corresponded (as far as we could reckon) with that of my 

[Unfortunately no corroboration of this occurrence is now obtainable ; 
but the incident of the newspaper does not seem a likely one to have 
been unconsciously invented.] 

[Case 39 is omitted. — Ed.] 

§ 2. [Omitted also are four examples — 40, 41, 42, 43 — illustrating the 
transference of ideas and images of a simple rudimentary sort. Perhaps 
the following case from the " Additional Chapter " may best be classed here 
as being an example of mere impressions, without any sensory affection. 
— Ed.] The narrator is Mr. J. C. Grant, of 98, Cornwall Gardens, S.W. ; 
from whose very full journal the records were copied by the present writer. 
Mr. Grant desires that the names of the persons mentioned shall not be 
printed ; but says that " the fullest information is open to private en- 
quiry." The instance which was second in date is given before the earlier 
one, as being more complete, and is the only one to which I have attached 
an evidential number. 

(692) Entry in diary for April 11, 1882. 

" A very strange thing happened to me last night. It has happened 
once before. After being asleep some little time, I was wakened up, 
quite quietly and with no dread or horror, but with the absolute and 


certain knowledge that there was a ' presence ' in my room. I looked 
everywhere into the darkness, implored it to appear, but to no effect ; 
for though I have the gift of ' feeling,' I have not that of ' sight,' I felt 
certain, in fact was told by it, that it was to do with Bruce [Christian 
name]. I thought it was his father — I was sure it was : I thought he 
must be dead.^ All this took place in about a couple of minutes or so ; 
and as I saw I could see nothing, I got up, struck a match, lighted the 
candle at my bedside, and looked at my watch. It was just 14 minutes 
past 12 o'clock. I then put out the candle ; but all feeling of the presence 
had gone. It had spoken as only a spirit-^ can speak, and then had passed 
away. I did not get to sleep for a long time, and was very unhappy for 
poor Bruce. ... I have been quite out of sorts all day for poor old Bruce, 
to whom I wrote this morning. Told M. and R. of my feeling and ex- 
periences of the night." 

[The entry for April 12 mentions a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. M., 
in which Mr. Grant remembers that he described the occurrence.] 

Entry for April 13. 

" In afternoon went over to ray aunt M.'s, had a long talk with her, 
told her and J. and others all aboiit my presentiment. I have not heard 
from poor Bruce yet." 

Entry for April 14. 

" Up early, at half-past seven — expecting a letter. The letter has 
come, as I expected — deep black edge ; but it is not his father, but his 
brother, that has died, poor old E., date and all, on Tuesday. ... I 
wrote to him this morning. I will not tell him of my strange meeting of 
Tuesday morning or Monday night. . . . Witnesses to this strange pre- 
knowledge of mine : Mrs. R., my housekeeper ; Mrs. C, my aunt ; J., 
my cousin (Captain C.) ; other cousins, Mrs. M. and Mr. M., Mr. H. R., 
and Mrae. G. So you see^ I am not without my authorities, besides my 
written journal." 

Entry for April 15. 

" Wrote a long letter to my father, giving him what news there was, 
and telling him about my queer experience." 

The following is a copy, made by the present writer, of a letter written 
to Mr. Grant by Mr. M., on June 3, 1886 : — 

" We distinctly remember your telling us about the strange circum- 
stance that took place before* the death of one of your friends. The 
details have escaped our memory, but we remember that it was a case of 
premonition, which was afterv/ards verified. " C. \V. M." 

The date of death appears in the Times obituary as April 10, 1882. 
This was Monday, not Tuesday ; and probably Mr. Grant assumed that 
the day on which his friend heard of the death was the day of the death 
itself. The death, which took place in China, can only have fallen within 

^ Mr. Grant explains this sentence as follows: — " I knew his father to be very 
seriously ill, which no doubt was the reason why my thoughts took this direction." 

- I must disclaim all responsibility for this and similar impressions on the part 
of informants. 

^ The journal, though a private one. is in many parts written as if addressed to an 
imaginary reader. 

* The wording of this letter, and Mr. Grant's expressions above, illustrate what I 
have more than once remarked on — the common tendency to describe what are really 
telepathic impressions, coinciding with or closely following real events, as prophetic 
and premonitory. 


12 hours of his experience if it occurred in the few hours preceding 

Mr. E. T. R., who died, was an intimate friend of Mr. Grant's, but not 
so intimate as his brother Bruce. 

Entry in diary for Wednesday, December lo, 1879. (Mr. Grant was at 
the time in Southern India.) 

" Yesterday I had a pecuUar sensation. When I say yesterday, I 
mean last night. ... I have as it were an inner eye opened. I had 
a sort of unconscious feehng that, if I were to wish it, I could see some 
strange visitant in the chamber with me — someone disembodied. [Here 
follow some words of description which, though general and not dis- 
tinctive, apply perfectly to the particular person who, as it turned out, 
died at the time, and would have applied equally naturally to only a 
small group of persons. Mr. Grant has what appear to me valid reasons 
for withholding the clause from publication.] I forced the idea from me, 
and fell into a troubled sleep." 

Entry for December 11, 

" Went in afternoon to the library ; thence to C.'s. Hear by telegram, 
while there, of the death of my uncle, Mr. C., on Tuesday. Wonder if 
that had anything to do with my feelings the night before last." 

We find in the obituary of a leading newspaper that the death took 
place on December 9th, 1879 

Mr. Grant states that he had had no idea that anything was the matter 
with his uncle. 

I have studied in Mr. Grant's diary the full record of a third case, 
which was even more remarkable than the first, as it included the peculi- 
arity that, for some time after his first impression, he felt forcibly impelled 
to draw the figure of the person who died. The case was made the more 
striking to me by the fact that Mr. Grant was so certain tha.t the death 
(the time of which he had only very vaguely learnt) must have coincided 
in date with his impression, that he had actually not taken the trouble to 
verify the coincidence. He left it to me to find in the Times obituary — as 
he confidently foretold that I would — that the death (which was quite 
unexpected) occurred, thousands of miles from the place v/here he was, 
on the day preceding that on which the entry in his diary, relating his 
impression of the previous night, was written. The impression of that 
night did not, however, bear distinct reference to the particular person 
who died, but was a more general sense of calamity in the family. Certain 
reasons which at present make it desirable not to publish the details 
of this case may in time cease to exist. 

Mr. Grant writes, on May 31st, 1886 :— 

" Except on these three occasions, I have never, to the best of my 
recollection, had any feeling in the least resembling those described." 

§ 3. I now come to cases where the impression was of a more definite 
sort, representing actual people and actual events. We sometimes en» 
counter persons who allege that they have repeatedly experienced some 
occult sort of perception of what was happening to friends or relatives at 
a distance. As a rule their statements have no force at all as evidence for 
telepathy ; partly because we have no means of judging how far the 



idea of the distant event may have been suggested in some normal way ; 
partly because the impressions have not been recorded at the time, and 
it is specially easy to suppose that failures may have been forgotten, while 
a lucky guess has been remembered. We have, however, one example of 
marked correspondence where two witnesses were concerned, each of 
whom professes to have had other similar experiences, and where the 
particular incident narrated is adequately confirmed. The witnesses are 
Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Saunders, of St. Helen's, near Ryde. As to former 
experiences, Mr. Saunders says : — 

" I have mentally noted frequent ' vivid impressions ' during many 
years past, and in the majority of instances, when such impressions have 
appeared to be spontaneous and intuitive, the facts have actually corre- 

Mrs. Saunders says : — 

" I have had other similar strong impressions at distant intervals, and 
as far as I can recollect they have corresponded with the reality. I cannot 
say if I have had any such impressions which have not corresponded with 
the reality, but my opinion is that I have had none such." 

Mr. Saunders' account of the particular incident is as follows : — 

" San Claudio, Sandown, Isle of Wight. 

" March 12th, 1883. 
(44) " On Thursday evening last (8th inst.) in the house of friends with 
whom we were staying at Tavistock, Devon, I suddenly asked my wife 
' What she was thinking of ? ' She replied, ' I cannot get M. R. and A. F. 
out of my head all day ; they will run through all my thoughts.' I 
replied, ' What makes you think of them ? ' She said, ' I don't know, but 
it seems just as if they were married,' to which I asked, ' Have you any 
reason to suppose they would be married to-day ? ' She replied, ' Oh, no ! 
I am sure Mary would not be married during Lent.' I then allowed my 
mind to travel to the house where M. R. resided in London, when I became 
immediately conscious of receiving the strongest possible conviction that 
they were married that day, so that I quickly but firmly replied, ' They are 
married to-day, and we shall see the wedding announced in the Times on 
Saturday,' at which there was a general titter. However, I was so con- 
vinced of the accuracy of our joint thoughts that I foolishly offered to 
wager the whole of my belongings on the truth of it, and until seeing the 
confirmation, I was anxious to risk anything in support of my belief. I 
may here mention that there were present, who could testify to the fore- 
going conversation, three independent witnesses, quite unknown to the 
persons referred to as M. R. and A. F. Neither of the latter had been 
seen nor communicated with by my wife for nearly six months, but I had 
seen them once about three months before. We knew they were to be 
married, but understood not until April or May. This knowledge and the 
question of Lent made my wife doubtful as to the fulfilment of her pre- 
sentiment when I pressed her finally at noon on Saturday ; soon after 
which, on reaching Exeter station, I procured a copy of the Times, and 
before opening it again declared my conviction absolutely unshaken. As 
yoii may have guessed, there was the notice of marriage, as having taken 
place on the 8th inst., all right. [We have verified this fact independently.] 
I may conclude by saying this notice is all we know of the wedding, no 


communication having passed between us and any member of the bride's 
or bridegroom's family, &c. Further, if you deem it of sufficient im- 
portance I will supply correct names and addresses of all parties interested, 
as I feel sure our Tavistock friends could not object to contributing to 
scientific truth by testifying to the facts." 

The ladies who were present when Mr. and Mrs. Saunders had this 
impression corroborate as follows, in a letter written to Mr. Saunders from 
Harleigh House, Tavistock : — 

" After a lengthy discussion you both emphatically concluded that she 
was married on that day. We were quite sceptical at the time, but on 
receipt of the Times the proofs were quite convincing. 

" Lily Sampson. 

"Kathleen Sampson." 

Here the state of the supposed agent or agents was presumably excite- 
ment of a happy nature. This, however, is rarely the case — which may 
perhaps be taken as indicating the superior vividness of pains over pleas- 
ures. Impressions of death, illness, or accident are the almost unbroken 
rule. I will first quote cases where a distinct idea of the particular 
event was produced, without any distinct representation of the actual 

The following account is from Mrs. Herbert Davy, of i, Burdon Place, 

" December 20th, 1883. 

(45) " A very old gentleman, living at Hurworth, a friend of my 
husband's and with whom I was but slightly acquainted, had been ill many 
months. My sister-in-law, who resides also at H., often mentioned him 
in her letters, saying he was better or worse as the case might be. 

" Late last autumn, my husband and I were staying at the Tynedale 
Hydropathic Establishment. One evening I suddenly laid down the book 
I was reading, with this thought so strong upon me I could scarcely 
refrain from putting it into words : ' I believe that Mr. C. is at this 
moment dying.' So strangely was I imbued with this belief — there had 
been nothing whatever said to lead to it — that I asked my husband to note 
the time particularly, and to remember it for a reason I would rather not 
state just then. ' It is exactly 7 o'clock,' he said, and that being our 
dinner hour, we went downstairs to dine. The entire evening, however, 
I was haunted by the same strange feeling, and looked for a letter from 
my sister-in-law next morning. None came. But the following day there 
was one for her brother. In it she said : ' Poor old Mr? C. died last night 
at 7 o'clock. It was past post time, so I could not let you know before.' " 

Mr. Davy corroborates as follows : — 

" December 27th, 1883. 

" I have a perfect recollection of the night in question, the 20th 
October, 1882, when my wife asked me to tell her the time. I told her 
the time, as she ' had a reason for knowing it,' she said. She afterwards 
told me that reason. " Herbert Davy." 

The following is a copy of an obituary card, referring to the Mr. C. of 
the narrative : — 

" In loving memory of John Colling, of Hurworth-on-Tees, who died 
October the 20th, 1882, aged 84 years." 


Mrs. Davy has had one other experience which also corresponded with 
a death. With this exception, she states that the present case was quite 
unique in her experience. 

In an interview with Professor Sidgwick, on April 15th, 1884, Mrs. 
Davy described the impression as strong and sudden, not emotional, but 
merely the sudden conviction that Mr. Colling was at that moment dying, 
though a strange feeling of sadness followed and remained during the 
evening. " She called it strange," says Professor Sidgwick, " meaning (as 
I understand) that her interest in Mr. C. was too slight to account for it ; 
and she has no reason to suppose that he thought of her at the moment of 
death. In this case her recollection of the uniqueness and strength of her 
conviction is confirmed by her request to her husband to note the time ; 
she was certain that she had never on any other occasion made a similar 
request in consequence of a similar impression. Her belief at the time 
was not the result of any reasoning process leading her to have confidence 
in her impression." More than two years later, in conversation with the 
present writer, Mrs. Davy mentioned the surprise which she herself after- 
wards felt at having made the request to her husband. 

In this case the percipient was aware that the supposed agent was 
in a state where the event surmised was not wholly improbable, which 
reduces the force of the evidence. There are many cases of sudden -acci- 
dent where this objection does not apply. 

[Cases 46-48 and 50-53 are omitted. — Ed. About No. 48, a case of a 
child of three having a coincidental impression of a cousin drowning, 
Mr. Gurney remarks : — ] 

The impression of a very young child, corresponding to such an acci- 
dent as this, has far more force than that of an adult would generally 
have ; for seasons when relatives are supposed to be skating or boating 
are likely times for nervous apprehensions, which will naturally now and 
then be fulfilled. The following case is a strong one of its kind ; since the 
coincidence appears to have been close to the hour, while the ground for 
nervousness, such as it was, extended over a good many days. The im- 
pression, moreover, seems to have been of a p:-culiarly definite and start- 
ling kind, being almost if not quite externalised as actual sound. The 
account is from the Rev. A. W. Arundel, who wrote from Colorado Springs, 
U.S.A.. in 1884. 

(49) " In the fall of 1875, I took a trip to Madison, Ohio, to Johnson's 
Island, Kelly's Island, and neighbouring points. There were nine of us in 
all, and our conveyance was a small sailing vessel. One Sunday morning 
we crossed from Cedar Point to Sandusky, in order to attend church. 
During the service a heavy storm came up, and when we went down to the 
landing, on our return, we found a pretty rough sea. We ventured, how- 
ever, to try and get across, and in the end succeeded ; but in the trial we 
had a very narrow escape. We had gone about half-way, when a very 
heavy gust of wind struck our little vessel, and turned her over on her side. 
The water rushed in, and it seemed almost impossible to keep her afloat. 
There we were clinging to the side that was still out of water, and expect- 
ing every moment to be swamped. By dint of almost superhuman 
effort, those who had sufficient presence of mind cut away all the sail we 
were carrying, and the boat righted just enough to allow the men to bale 
out some of the water. We managed, after one or two almost hopeless 


struggles, to get ashore. Now just at the moment of greatest danger, 
when escape seemed impossible, I thought of my wife and child a hundred 
miles away. I thought of them in a sort of agony, and felt that to leave 
them was impossible. If ever there was an unuttered cry for loved ones, 
it was at that moment. This was on the Sunday afternoon. 

" I reached home on the following Saturday afternoon. Having to 
preach that Sunday, I held no conversation with my wife that morning, 
and it was not until Sunday after dinner that we had an opportunity for 
a chat. Just as I was about to commence an account of my trip, my wife 
said, ' By the way, I had a very peculiar experience last Sunday, just 
about this time. I was lying on the lounge, when all at once I had a 
startling impression that you wanted me, and even fancied I heard you 
call. I started up and listened, and went out on to the porch, and looked 
up and down the road, and acted altogether in a very agitated way.' 

" This happened, as nearly as we could determine by comparing notes, 
at precisely the same hour that I was clinging to that side of the sinking 
boat, and facing what seemed to be the possibility of a watery grave. I 
do not believe it was coincidence. It must, I think, be explained in some 
other way. .< Alfred W. Arundel, 

" Pastor 1st U.E. Church." 

The following is a corroborative account from Mrs. Arundel, who wrote 
from Maniton, Colorado, on April i, 1886 : — 

" Not being very well, I was lying on the sofa (not asleep, for I had 
my baby sitting on the floor beside me, playing) . Mr. Arundel was away 
on a sailing excursion with some friends, and I did not expect his return 
for some days. It seemed to me that I distinctly heard him call me by 
name, ' Maggie,' a slight pause and again ' Maggie.' The voice seemed far 
off and yet clear, but the tone such as he would use if needing me. The 
impression was so distinct that I rose and went out on to the porch with 
the thought, ' Can they possibly have returned sooner for some reason ? ' 
and I so fully expected to see him there that I went back into the house 
with a feeling of disappointment and some anxiety, too, feeling so sure I 
had heard his voice. No one was in the house, my servant being out. 
When my husband came home, he was much startled to find how exactly 
his experience on that Sunday afternoon corresponded with my vivid 
impressions. It could not have been mere coincidence. I must add that I 
mentioned my experience to Mr. Arundel before he had spoken to me of his. 

" 1 have had impressions more than once, but never a, false one. When 
Mr. Arundel first crossed to America he met with a severe storm. The 
night that the ship was in great danger (though it is impossible to define 
how), I knew and felt that it was so. I mentioned it to my friends, who 
ridiculed the fanc}' ; nevertheless, the time corresponded precisely. 

" Marguerite Arundel." 

§ 4. There is one interesting group of cases where the idea ap- 
parently impressed on the percipient has been simply that of the agent's 
approach. But here, again, great caution is necessary. Popular opinion 
is extremely apt to invest persentiments of this sort with a character to 
which they have no claim. Every day, probably, a large number of 
people have a more or less strong impression, for which they can assign 
no distinct reason, that some particular person is near them or is coming 
to see them. That with some people such an impression should prove 
correct often enough to be remarked on, is only what we should naturally 


expect ; and it is probable that the impression, when apparently con- 
firmed in this way, would look to memory more definite and confident 
than it had really been. When it is always about the same person that 
the impression is felt, there is more prima facie ground for supposing that 
it may be telepathic. But still the circumstances may make it quite un- 
available as evidence. For instance, Mr. Rowland Rowlands, of Brynce- 
thin, Bridgend, tells us that when he was manager of the Pen-y-graig 
Collieries, a man who was acting under him as foreman (since dead) had 
constantly to come to his house on business in the middle of the night. 

" I v/as invariably aware of his coming, in dream, before he actually 
appeared, and would leave my bed and watch for him at the window. He 
himself noticed this, and told the other men that he never came but he 
found me at the window watching for him." 

But those who are in the habit of being waked at night for a special 
purpose know the way in which the expectation will often haunt their 
dreams ; and in the absence of more definite assurance that the man was 
never expected when he did not come, and that he never came unexpected, 
accident is the reasonable explanation of the coincidences. [Two other 
instances omitted here. — Ed.] We have, however, stronger cases, of 
which a couple may be worth quoting here. The first is remarkable from 
the extreme improbability of the visit ; the second from the number of 
times in succession that the impression proved correct. 

Miss M. E. Pritchard, of Tan-y-coed, Bangor, says : — 

" January 30th, 1884. 

(54) " One night, at 12 o'clock, I felt a conviction that a friend of ours, 
Mr. Jephson, was coming to see us very shortly. I mentioned it to my 
sister, who merely said it was very improbable, as he must be on his way 
to Canada, as such was his intention when we had last seen him. 

" It was greatly to her astonishment when he actually arrived next 
morning at 9 a.m. When questioned as to the time of his arrival, we 
found it corresponded to the time of my remark, and, still more curious, 
he was then thinking of coming straight down to see us, but decided to 
wait till morning. This was in March, 1880, as far as I can remember." 

In reply to inquiries, Miss Pritchard adds : — 

" February 7th, 1884. 

" In reply to your question as to whether any other previous impres- 
sions had not turned out true, I think, as far as I can remember, any deep 
impression I have ever had as to anyone calling has invariably been 

The following corroboration is from Miss Pritchard's sister : — 

" Tan-y-coed, February 8th, 1884. 
" I distinctly remember my sister telling me (at the time) of her im- 
pression that a friend was on his way to see us, which turned out to be the 
fact. — E. B. Pritchard." 

[About the second case (No. 55) omitted here, Mr. Gurney says : — 'l 

Here real pains seem to have been taken to test the phenomenon 
fairlj?- ; but the case is rather remote, and it is very unfortunate that no 
notes were taken at the time. Some further specimens will be found in 


the Supplement ; and parallel cases where there was an actual sensory 
impression of the person about to arrive will be found in Chapter XIV., § 7. 

§ 5. So far, the impressions that corresponded with real events have 
all been ideas of a more or less abstract kind ; the fact was realised, but 
no image of the actual scene was called up in the percipient's mind. We 
now come to a series of more concrete impressions — still belonging, how- 
ever, to the non-sensory family ; for though they have evoked sensory 
images with more or less distinctness, they have not suggested to the 
percipient any actual affection of the senses. And they continue to 
present this marked point of analogy to the results of experimental 
thought-transference, that the images or the scene evoked before the 
percipient's mind reflected (either wholly or in great part) the images or 
scene with which the agent's attention was actually occupied. 

In alleged transferences of this distinct and detailed sort, it is, of 
course, essential to the evidence that the scene with which the percipient 
is inwardly impressed should not be one that might, in the ordinary course 
of things, have been pictured correctly, or with sufficient correctness for 
the description to seem applicable. The tendency to make the most of 
such correspondences must here be carefully borne in mind. [An illus- 
tration is omitted.] 

The following cases seem to be free from objections. The first shall 
be another specimen from the remarkable series of impressions which have 
been experienced by Mr. J. G. Keulemans (see pp. 140 and 175). 

" November, 1882. 
(56) " One morning, not long ago, while engaged with some very easy 
work, I saw in my mind's eye a little wicker basket, containing five eggs, 
two very clean, of a more than usually elongated oval and of a yellowish 
hue. one very round, plain white, but smudged all over with dirt ; the 
remaining two bore no peculiar marks. I asked myself what that insig- 
nificant but sudden image could mean. I never think of similar objects. 
But that basket remained fixed in my mind, and occupied it for some 
moments. About two hours later I v/ent into another room for lunch. I 
was at once struck with the remarkable similarity between the eggs 
standing in the egg-cups on the breakfast table, and those two very long 
ones I had in my imagination previously seen. * Why do you keep looking 
at those eggs so carefully ' ' asked my wife ; and it caused her great 
astonishment to learn from me how many eggs had been sent by her 
mother half an hour before. She then brought up the remaining three ; 
there was the one with the dirt on it, and the basket, the same as I had seen. 
On further inquiry, I found that the eggs had been kept together by my 
mother-in-law, that she had placed them in the basket and thought of 
sending them to me ; and, to use her own words, ' I did of course think 
of you at that moment.' She did this at 10 on the morning, which (as I 
know from my regular habits) must have been just the time of my 
impression ' J. G. Keui.emans." 

Mrs. Keulemans tells us that she has almost forgotten the incident. 
"All I can say is that my husband looked at some eggs and made the 
remark that he had seen them before. I know he told me my mother had 
sent them." 

Here the very triviality of this incident, as well as the smallness and 


definiteuess of the object visualised, makes the resemblance to cases of 
experimental thought-transference specially close. 1 

In the examples which follow, the idea of something less circumscribed 
than a single object, and more of the nature of a complete scene, seems to 
have been transmitted. 

[Case 57 is here omitted.] The next instance is from Mr. John Hop- 
kins, of 23, King Street, Carmarthen. 

" May 2nd, 1884. 

(58) " One evening, in the early sprmg of last year (1883), as I was 
retiring to bed. and v/hilst I was in the full enjo^'ment of good health and 
active senses — I distinctly saw my mother and my younger sister ci^nng. 
I was here in Carmarthen, and they were away in Monmouthshire, 80 miles 
distant. They distinctly appeared to me to be giving way to grief, and 
I was at once positive that some domestic bereavement had taken place. 
I said to myself, ' I shall hear something of this in the morning.' \\lien 
the morning came, the first thing which was handed to me was a letter 
from my father in Monmouthshire, statmg that they had, on the day of 
writing, had intelligence that my nephew had just died. The little boy 
was the son of my elder sister, living in North Devon. There was no 
doubt but that my mother and younger sister had both given way to 
grief on the day of my strange illusion, and it was in some mysterious 
manner communicated to my mind — together with a certani presentiment 
that I was on the eve of intelligence of a death in the family. I thought 
it most probable, though, that the imaginative faculty added — in a 
purely local manner — the idea of speedy intelligence to the communica- 
tion which the mind received in some way from Monmouthshire. 

" It was the only occurrence of the sort I have ever experienced. 

" John Hopkins." 

In answer to inquiries, Mr. Hopkins writes, on May 15, 1884 : — 

" I, at Carmarthen, had news on the following morning, as I thoroughly 
expected to, of a death — that of a nephew. I had no opportunity of 
mentioning the circumstance to anyone before the letter came. I am sorry 
to say, too, that I have destroyed the letter. 

" As to the reality of the scene in my mind — speaking as correctly as 
I can at this distance of time from the occurrence (about a year ago) — 
I. don't think the affair did produce a picture on m}:' mind Diore vivid 
than might have been summoned there by closing the eyes and putting 
some strain upon the imagination. It certainly did not make the outward 

^ Mr. Keulemans is a trained observer, and has made a careful study of his peculiar 
mental pictures, the subjects of which range from single objects, as in the above case, 
to complete scenes. He says : " They are always marked by a strange sensation. 
There is no attempt on my part to conjure them up — on the contrary, they come 
quite suddenty and unexpectedly, binding my thoughts so fixedly to the subject 
as to render all external influences imperceptible. Whenever I took the trouble 
to ascertain whether my impressions corresponded to real events, I found them 
invariably to do so, even in the most minute details." But his cases naturally differ 
in their evidential force. He tells us, for instance, that on New Year's Eve, 1881, 
he had a vivid picture of his family circle in Holland, but missed from the group his 
youngest sister, a child of 14, whose absence from home on such an occasiuu was 
most improbable. He wrote at once to ask if this sister was ill ; but the answer 
was that, contrary to all precedent, she had been away from home. This may plainly 
have been an o.-ccidcraal coincidence. 


eye fancy it saw something, as the Bishop of Carlisle has suggested may be 
the case in some instances. But there was this peculiarity. The scene 
was impressed upon my mind without closing of the eyes or any other 
inducement to absent-mindedness, and without the imagination from 
myself, so far as I can say, going out in that direction. It was also more 
firmly riveted upon my mind than any passing, or what one may term 
accidental, impression would be. It was fixed there. I could not get rid of 
it, and I felt certain it meant something, which it certainly did. 

" Although the locale was familiar to me, I don't think there had been 
more wanderings of memory to it than to other places I knew, and the 
state of grief which my relatives were in may be said to have been the 
only exceptional feature." 

In conversation with Mr. Hopkins, I learnt that his father, mother, and 
younger sister were the only three relatives at home ; and that his im- 
pression as to the grief of the two latter resulted in apprehension about 
his father — led him, that is, to a wrong guess. On the other hand I am 
sure, from his account, that the impression itself was of a very strong and 
peculiar kind. 

[Cases 59, 60, 61 are omitted.] The next case differs from most of the 
preceding, in that the condition of the agent was only slightly abnormal, 
and the probability that the impressions of the percipient were telepathic 
rests entirely on the exactitude of detail in the correspondence. The name 
of the narrator, Mrs. L., is only withheld from publication because her 
friends would object to its appearance. She has had other similar ex- 
periences, but the following is the only one that she can accurately recall. 

" January, 1885. 

(62) " Some years ago, the writer, when recovering from an illness, had 
a remarkable experience of ' second-sight.' It v/as thus : — 

" A friend had beexi invited to dinner, whom the writer was most 
anxious to consult on a subject of grave anxiety. At 7 o'clock the servant 
came to ask, ' if dinner should be served or not, as the guest had not 

" The writer said at once, and without hesitation, ' No, put off the 

dinner till 8 o'clock. Mr. A. will arrive at Station by 7.45 train ; 

send the carriage there to meet him.' 

" The writer's husband, surprised at this announcement, said, ' Why 
did you not tell us this before, and when did Mr. A. let you know of the 
delay in his arrival ? ' 

" The vva-iter then explained that there had been no intimation from 
Mr. A., but that as she had been lying there, on the couch, and anxiously 
hoping to see her guest, she had had a distinct vision of him, at a certain 
place (mentioning the name of the town) ; that she had seen him going 
over a ' House to Let ' ; that, having missed the train and also the ferry, 
he had crossed the river in a small boat and scrambled up the steep bank, 
tripping in doing so, and that he had run across a ploughed field, taking up 

the train at a side station, which would arrive at at a quarter to 

8 p.m. 

" The writer gave all these particulars without any sort of mental 
effort, and felt surprised herself at the time that they should arise to her 
mind and tongue. 

" Presently Mr. A. arrived full of apologies, and surprised beyond 
measure to find his friend's carriage awaiting him at the station. He then 
went on to explain that he had that morning quite suddenly taken it into 


his head to leave town for , and finding it so fresh and healthy a 

place, he had been tempted to look over some houses to let, hoping to 
be able to get one for a few weeks in the season ; that he had lost time 
in doing this, and missed both train and ferry ; that he had bribed a 
small boat to row him over ; that in getting up the side bank, he fell, 
which delayed him again, but that he had just contrived to catch the train 
at a siding, by running breathless over a field ; that he had intended to 
telegraph on arriving at the station, but, meeting the carriage there, he 
had felt bound to come on, to explain and apologise, in spite of delay, and 
' morning dress,' &c., &c." 

The following is a letter from Mr. A. to Mrs. L. : — 

" February i6th, 1885. 

" Dear Mrs. L., — Anent that Indian incident, your seeing me, and 
what I was doing at Barrackpore one evening, you yourself being in 
Calcutta at the time. 

" It is now so long ago, 13 years, I think, that I cannot recall all the 
circumstances, but I do remember generally. 

" I left home one morning without the intention of going from Calcutta 
during the day, but T did go from. Calcutta to Barrackpore and spent some 
time in looking through the bungalows to let. 

" I remember I crossed in a small boat — not b^?- the ferry, and my 
impression is that I did not land at the usual jetty, but, instead, at the 
bank opposite the houses which I wished to see. 

' I missed the train by which I would ordinarily have travelled, and 
consequently arrived in Calcutta considerably later than your usual 

' I cannot remember distinctly that I found any gharry at the Barrack- 
pore train, Calcutta Station, but you may probably remember whether 
you sent the gharry ; but I do remember my astonishment that you had 
put back dinner against my return from Barrackpore by that particular 
train, you having had no previous direct knowledge of my having gone to 
Barrackpore at all. 

" I remember, too, your telhng me generally what I had been doing at 
Barrackpore, and how I had missed the earlier train. And on my inquiry 
' How on earth do you know these things ? ' you said, ' I saw you.' 
Expecting me by that train, I can quite understand your having sent the 
carriage for me, although that particular item is not clearly on my memory. 

" I can well remember that at the time of the incident you were in a 
very delicate state of health. 

" Do you remember that other occasion in Calcutta, a holiday, when 

Mrs. called, I being out, and on her inquiring for me your iniorming 

her that I had gone to the bootmaker's and the hatter's, you havmg had 
no previous intimation from me of any such intention on my part .•' and 
our astonishment and amazement when I did a little later turn up, a new 
hat in my hand, and fresh from registering an order at the bootmaker's ? 

" These have always appeared to me very extraordinary incidents, and 
the first, especially, incapable of explanation in an ordinary way." 

Mrs. L. recollects the other incident referred to, but she is not inclined 
to think it of much importance. 

She adds : — 

' ' The river crossed was the Hooghly from Serampore to Barrackpore, 
where the house was situated which Mr. A. looked over. The station he 
arrived at was in Calcutta, I think called the South Eastern, but of this 
I am not sure." 


The next account is from a lady who is an active philanthropist, and 
as practical and un visionary a person as could be found. She has no 
special interest in our work, and withholds her name on the ground that 
her friends would dislike or despise the subject. This is one of the ways in 
which the present state of thought and feeling often prevents the facts from 
r.aving their legitimate force. 

" May 9th, 1883. 
(63) " It happened one Tuesday last January. I was going to start for 
one of my usual visits to Southampton. In the morning I received a letter 
from a friend saying he was going to hunt that day, and would write next 
day, so that I should get the letter on my return home. In the train, 
being tired, I put down my book and shut my eyes, and presently the 
whole scene suddenly occurred before me — a hunting field and two men 
riding up to jump a low stone wall. My friend's horse rushed at it, could 
not clear it, and blundered on to his head, throwing off his rider, and the 
whole scene vanished. I was wide awake the whole time. My friend 
is a great rider, and there was no reason why such an accident should 
have befallen him. Directly I arrived at Southampton I wrote to him, 
simply saying I knew he had had a fall, and hoped he v/as not hurt. On 
my return late on Wednesday night, not finding the promised letter, I 
wrote a few lines, merely saying I should expect to hear all about his spill 
next day, and I mentioned to two people that evening on my return what 
I had seen ; also that Tuesday evening, dining with friends, I spoke of 
what had happened in the train, and they all promptly laughed at me. 
On Thursday morning I received a letter from my friend, telling me he 
had had a fall, riding at a low stone wall, that the horse had not been able 
to clear it, and had blundered on to his head, that he was not much hurt, 
and had later on remounted. He had not. when he wrote, received either 
of my letters, as my Tuesday one only arrived in Scotland on Thursday 
morning, and my Wednesday one on Friday. When he received my 
letters, he only declared I must have been asleep. Nothing of the sort 
ever happened to me before or since. It all seemed very natural and did 
not alarm me. " H. G. B." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. B. adds : — 

" My friend, who is a hard-headed Scotchman, declined to say another 
word about it. All I know is that there were two horsemen riding up to 
the same spot." 

In a personal interview, Mrs. B. told the present writer that her vision 
took place about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and that she had heard from 
her friend that his accident took place " after lunch." She had no idea of 
disaster, and felt sure he was not much hurt. She cannot say whether 
her eyes were open or shut, but is certain that the experience was an 
altogether unique one. 

[Case 64 is omitted.] We received the next account through the kind- 
ness of Mr. J. Bradley Dyne, of 2, Nev/ Square, Lincoln's Inn. The incident 
took place in his house at Highgate, and the narrator is his sister-in-law. 
The case brings us again to the very verge of actual sensory hallucination. 
It seems also to be an extreme instance of a deferred or a latent telepathic 
impression — the death of the agent (allowing for longitude) having preceded 
the percipient's experience by about lo hours. This feature does not seem 
specially surprising, when we remember how actual impressions of sense 


may pass unnoted, and yet emerge into consciousness hours afterwards, 
either in dream or in some moment of silence or recueillcment. (See above, 
p, 144.) 

" 1883. 

(65) " I had known Mr. as a medical man, under whose treat- 
ment I had been for some years, and at whose hands I had experienced 
great kindness. He had ceased to attend me for considerably more than a 
year at the time of his death. I was aware that he had given up practice, 
but beyond that I knew nothing of his proceedings, or of the state of his 
health. At the time I last saw him, he appeared particularly well, and 
even made some remark himself as to the amount of vigour and work left 
in him. 

" On Thursday, the i6th day of December, 1875, I had been for some 
little time on a visit at my brother-in-law's and sister's house near London. 
I was in good health, but from the morning and throughout the day I 
felt unaccountably depressed and out of spirits, which I attributed to the 
gloominess of the w^eather. A short time after lunch, about 2 o'clock, I 
thought I would go up to the nursery to amuse myself with the children, 
and try to recover my spirits. The attempt failed, and I returned to the 
dining-room, where I sat by myself, my sister being engaged elsewhere. 

The thought of Mr. came into my mind, and suddenly, with my eyes 

open, as I believe, for I was not feeling sleepy, I seemed to be in a room 
in which a man was lying dead in a small bed. I recognised the face at 

once as that of Mr. , and felt no doubt that he was dead, and not 

asleep only. The room appeared to be bare and without carpet or 
furniture. I cannot say how long the appearance lasted. I did not 
mention the appearance to my sister or brother-in-law at the time. I 
tried to argue with myself that there could be nothing in what I had seen, 

chiefly on the ground that from what I knew of Mr. 's circumstances 

it was most improbable that, if dead, he would be in a room in so bare 
and unfurnished a state. Two days afterwards, on December i8th, I left 
my sister's house for home. About a week after my arrival, another of 

ray sisters read out of the daily papers the announcement of Mr. 's 

death, which had taken place abroad, and on December i6th, the day on 
which I had seen the appearance. 

" I have since been informed that Mr. had died in a small village 

hospital in a warm foreign climate, having been suddenly attacked with 
illness whilst on his travels." 

In answer to an inquiry Mr. Dyne says : — 

" My sister-in-law tells me that the occasion which I mentioned to you 
is absolutely the only one on which she has seen any vision of the kind." 

We learn from Mr. 's widow that the room in which he died fairly 

corresponded with the above description, and that the hour of death was 
3.30 a.m. 

These latter narratives might suggest a sort of incipient clairvoyayice^ 
But in the present state of our knowledge, it would be rash to ascribe any 
phenomenon to independent clairvoyance, which could by any possibility 
be regarded as telepathic ; for the simple reason that the phenomena on 
record which (if correctly reported) must beyond doubt have been due to 
independent clairvoyance, ai-e extremely rare in comparison with those 

^ As regards the appearance of the agent's own figure in the scene, see tho reirsarks 
on some parallel dream-cases, Chap, viii., part ii., end of § 6. ~ 


which, if correctly reported, can be accounted for by thought-transfer- 
ence. Thus in the last example — granting the possibility of deferred 
impressions — there is no difficulty in connecting the idea of the room, and 
even the idea of actual death, with the perceptions and thoughts of the 
dying man. It would be inconvenient, however, to refuse the term clair- 
voyance to cases where telepathic action reaches such a pitch that the 
percipient seems actually to be using the senses of some person or persons 
at the distant scene. And it will perhaps suffice to save confusion, if I note 
at once the difference between clairvoyance of this extreme telepathic 
type (which is still fairly within the scope of this book), and any supposed 
extension, for which no conditioning " agency " can be assigned, of the 
percipient's own senses. [No. 66 is omitted.] 

I had hoped to conclude this chapter with a case showing how a special 
condition of the percipient's mind may open the door (so to speak) to a 
telepathic impression, and also exemplifying the occurrence of a series of 
these vivid mental pictures to a single percipient. On the occasions re- 
ferred to, a deliberate effort on the percipient's part seems to have been 
involved in receiving, or rather in obtaining, a true impression of the 
aspect and surroundings of absent persons ; but unless we would assert 
(which we have no grounds for doing) that the continued existence of 
those persons, and their pre-established relation to the percipient, were 
not necessary conditions for the impression, we must still hold them to 
have been technically the agents. One of these agents, however — a medical 
man — while unable to resist the proofs which he has received of this sort 
of telepathic invasion, has so invincible a dread and dislike of the subject 
that for the present, in deference to his wishes, the account is withheld 
from publication. To " believe and tremble " is not a very scientific state 
of mind, and it is one for which we trust that there will be less and less 
excuse, as psychical research is gradually redeemed from supernatural and 
superstitious associations. Meanwhile, we must treat it with indulgence ; 
merely noting how the very qualities which have so often operated to swell 
lists of spurious marvels may equally operate to hamper the record and 
recognition of facts. 



§ I . We come next to a class of cases which are characterised not so much 
by the distinctness of the idea as by the strengtli of the emotion produced 
in the percipient. In some of tliese the emotion has depended on a definite 
idea, and has been connected with a sense of calamity to a particular indi- 
vidual, or a particular household : in others it has not had reference to 
any definite idea, and has seemed at the time quite causeless and unreason- 
able. Sometimes, again, the analogy with experimental cases, in the 
direct reflection of experience from mind to mind, is distinctly retained,* 
the experience of the percipient seeming actually to reproduce that of a 
relative or friend who is in some physical or mental crisis at a distance ; 
while in other cases a peculiar distress on the one side is so strikingly con- 
temporaneous with a unique condition on the other, that we cannot refuse 
to consider the hypothesis of a causal connection. 

From the point of view of evidence, this class of emotional impres- 
sions clearly requires the most careful treatment. There is all the differ- 
ence between a sensory impression, and even between the more distinct 
" mental pictures " of the last chapter, and a mere mood. We have no 
grounds for assuming that the news (for instance) of a friend's death will 
incite a man of sense and honesty to say that he saw, heard, felt, or strongly 
pictured, something unusual at or near the time of its occurrence, unless 
he really did so ; but it is easy to suppose that, having chanced to be 
slightly out of spirits at the time, he afterwards seems to remember that 
he was very much depressed indeed, and even filled with a boding of some 

1 The emotional class of impressions is, of course, a field peculiarly ill-adapted for 
deliberate experiment. Strong emotion cannot be summoned up at will by an experi- 
menter even in his own mind ; while, if it exists, it probably betrays itself in ways 
beyond his control. Cases are, indeed, alleged where a secret grief or anxiety on a 
mesmcriser's part has been reflected in the demeanour of his " subject." But this 
would not necessarily prove more than that the " subject " was, so to speak, hyper- 
sesthetic to slight physical signs of mental disturbance — which would be quite in 
accordance with the one-sided concentration of his mind that is shown in other ways, 
e.g., in his frequent deafness to any other voice than that of his operator. I may 
quote for what they are worth the following observations of Mr. H. S. Thompson 
{Zoist, V. 257) : " One patient who was highly sensitive, and whom I mesmerised 
for a nervous disorder, could, wlien awake, point out immediately whatever part of 
my head was touched by a third person. If I mesmerised her when I was in spirits, 
she was in spirits also ; if I was grave, she was grave ; and I never dared mesmerise 
her when I was suffering from any annoyance. I did not find that she often had 
distinct thoughts corresponding with my own, even when I tried to impress her by 
will with them. But she has experienced and shown a feeling correspovding with the 
thoughts I had." 



impending calamity. Nay, since a person who is oppressed by gloom and 
apprehension will often embrace in mental glances the small group of 
persons with whom his emotional connection is strongest, he may recall, 
when one of these persons proves actually to have been passing through a 
crisis at the time, that this particular one was present to his mind, and 
may easily glide on into thinking that it was with him that the sense of 
apprehension was specially connected. In these cases, then, it is of prime 
importance that the percipient's impression shall be mentioned or other- 
wise noted by him in an unmistakable way, before the receipt of news as 
to the supposed agent's condition. And even when we have clear proof 
that the emotion was really of a strongly-marked character, it is necessary 
further to obtain some assurance that such moods are not of common 
occurrence in the percipient's experience. Failing this, it is safest to 
regard any unusual character that may afterwards be attributed to the 
emotion as the result of its being afterwards dwelt on in connection with 
the coincident event. 

It need hardly be added that all cases must be rejected where there 
has been any appreciable cause for anxiety, however unmistakable and 
unique the impression may be shown to have been. Thus it cannot be 
regarded as usual for a lady who is at a friend's house, and intending to 
remain there for a week or two, to find herself suddenly and irrationally 
impelled, by the certainty of a domestic calamity, to pack her boxes and 
sit waiting for a telegram — which, (to borrow the phrase of a business-like 
informant) was shortly delivered " as per presentiment." But the surmise 
which was thus confirmed related to a baby grandchild at home ; and 
though she had not heard that it was ailing, those who watch over the 
health of young children are often, of course, in a more or less chronic 
state of nervousness. 

§ 2. [Three cases — 67, 68, 69 — are here omitted.] 

In the next example there can be no doubt as to the striking nature 
of the percipient's experience ; which, indeed, was so distinctly physical 
in character as to suggest the actual sensory transference of which Mrs. 
Severn's case (p. 132) was our most precise example. The narrator is 
Mrs. Reay, of 99, Holland Road, Kensington. 

"August 4th, 1884. 

(70) " I will endeavour to write you an account of the incident, related 
for you by my friend, Mr. E. Moon. His sister was staying with me at 
the time. It was in February, but I don't remember what year. We were 
sitting chatting over our 5 o'clock tea ; I was perfectly well at the time, 
and much amused with her conversation. As I had several notes to write 
before dinner, I asked her to leave me alone, or I feared I should not get 
them finished. She did so, and I went to the writing-table and began to 

" All at once a dreadful feeling of illness and faintness came over me, 
and I felt that I was dying. I had no power to get up to ring the bell for 
assistance, but sat with my head in my hands utterly helpless. 

" My maid came into the room for the tea things. I thought I would 
keep her with me, but felt better while she was there, so did not mention 
my illness to her, thinking it had passed away. However, as soon as I 
lost the sound of her footsteps, it all came back upon me worse than ever. 


In vain I tried to get up and ring the bell or call for help ; I could not 
move, and thought I was certainly dying. 

" When the dressing bell rang it roused me again, and I made a great 
effort to rise and go to my room, which I did ; but when my maid came in 
I was standing by the fire, leaning upon the mantelpiece, trembling all 
over. She at once came to me and asked what was the matter. I said I 
did not know, but that I felt very ill indeed. 

" The dinner-hour had arrived, and my husband had not come home. 
Then, for the first time, it flashed upon my mind that something had 
happened to him when I v^^as taken ill at the writing-table. This was the 
first time I had thought about him, so that it was no anxiety on my part 
about him that had caused my illness. The next half-hour was spent in 
great suspense ; then he arrived home with his messenger with him ; he 
was almost in an unconscious state, and remained so for about 24 hours. 
When he was well enough for me to ask him about his illness, he said he 
had been veiy well indeed all day, but just as he was preparing to leave 
his office he became suddenly verj^ ill (just the same time that I was taken 
Ul at the writing-table), and his messenger had to get a cab and come 
home with him ; he was quite unable to be left by himself. 

" Emily Reay." 

Mr. Reay, Secretary of the London and North-Western Railway, 
confirms as follows : — 

" September i8th, 1884. 

" I perfectly well recollect, on the evening of my severe and sudden 
attack of illness, my wife asking me some questions about it, when, after 
hearing what I had to say, she told me that almost at the same instant of 
time (soon after 5 p.m.), when writing, she was seized with a fit of trem- 
bling and nervous depression, as if she were dying. She went to her 
room and remained there in the same state until the dinner hour, and as 
I did not arrive by that time she instinctively felt that something had 
happened to me, and was on the point of sending to the office to inquire 
when I left, when I was brought home in a cab. At the time of my 
seizure I was writing, and it v/as with much difficulty that I was enabled 
to finish the letter. " S. Reay." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Reay adds : — 

' ' I never at any other time in my life had the slightest approach to the 
sensations I experienced when the sudden illness came over me, under the 
circumstances mentioned to you. I never in my life fainted, nor have I 
any tendency that way. The feeling which came over me was a dreadful 
trembling, with prostration, and a feeling that I was going to die ; and I 
had no power to rise from the writing-table to ring for assistance. I have 
never had the same feeling since, and never before that time." 

The uniqueness of the experience may be readily accepted as stated, 
in a case where its physical character was so distinct as this. But even 
judging of more doubtful cases, an inference which the percipient's de- 
scription might hardly v/arrant may sometimes be fairly drawn from the 
permanent effect made on his mind. 

[Cases 71 and 72 are here omitted.] The writer of the following narra- 
tive is the editor of a well-known northern newspaper, and was formerly 
special foreign correspondent of a London paper. A few weeks before the 
occurrence here described, he had a curious impression corresponding 
with the death of a friend [case 103 — not here reproduced]. 


" December nth, 1884. 

(73) " Oi^ the 3rd of May in the same spring [1882], my wife, while 
taking tea with my daughter, was suddenly seized Vv^ith an epileptic fit, 
and fell hea^dly to the floor, striking her forehead on the fender ; she was 
never conscious again, but died the next day. This accident happened 
between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon. For nearly 5 years my wife had 
intermittently suffered from epilepsy, but for some 3 months before her 
death seemed to have completely recovered, which apparent fact had 
caused much joy in our little family circle, as the poor dear had been a 
great sufferer. I set this down to show that her death or serious illness 
was not at all expected at the time it happened. 

" On the morning of the 3rd of May I left for the City, and as my 
wife kissed her hand to me at the window, I thought how remarkably well 
and ' like her old self ' she appeared. I went to business in ' high spirits,' 
and left her in the same ; but somewhere about the time she fell — neither 
my daughter nor I have been able to fix the time within an hour — I 
suddenly fell into such a fit of gloom that I was powerless to go on with 
ray work, and could only sit with my face between my hands, scarcely able 
to speak to my colleagues in the same office, who became alarmed as they 
had never seen me in any but a cheerful mood. I was at the time editing 
England, and as friend after friend dropped into my room, and wanted to 
know what ailed me, I could only explain my sensation in a phrase (which 
they and I well remember) which I kept repeating, namely, ' I have a 
horrible sense of some impending calamity.' So far as I am aware, my 
thoughts never once turned to my home. If they had, I think I should not 
have accepted, as I did, an invitation to dine with a friend at a restaurant 
in the Strand, pressed on me for the express purpose of ' cheering me up.' 

" I was telegraphed for to our office in the Strand, but by an accident 
it was not forwarded to me to Whitefriars Street at my editorial room : 
so that I never saw my wife until after 12 at night, when my 8 or 9 hours 
of fearful depression of spirits (as it instantly struck me) were accounted 
for. I may add that I am naturally of a buoyant temperament, in fact I 
may say far above the average of people in that respect, and I was never 
to my knowledge ever so suddenly or similarly depressed before. My 
wife, in this case, you will observe, was not dead but simply unconscious 
when my fit of low spirits set in. 

" There are several witnesses who can testify to these facts, for when 
it became known at the office that my wife was dead the strong coincidence 
of my suddenly ' turning so queer ' was a topic of conversation there. I 
have nothing to add but that we (my wife and I) had been married for 
25 years, and were extremely fond of each other, and we were both, I 
should say, of a sympathetic temperament, perhaps more than ordinarily 

Mr. Podmore writes on September ist, 1885 : — 

" I called to-day at Mr. 's house. He was out of town, but his 

son and daughter were at home.^ 

" As regards Mr. 's depression on the day of his wife's fatal attack, 

they both assured me that he spoke of this immediately after his return 
home on the evening of that day, and has frequently mentioned it since. 
The son has also heard one of his father's colleagues, Mr. Green, describe 
the circumstance as something quite remarkable. Mr. Green told him 

^ Our informant has since this date removed to the North of England, v.'here a 
personal interview with him might easily have been obtained, but was lately missed 
through an accident. 



that both himself and others present in the ofhce did all they could to 
rally Mr. but failed." 

[A full viva voce account of the incident has been given by the narrator 
to our friend and helper, Mr. A. G. Leonard.] 

Mr. Green writes : — 

" Netherworton House, Steeple Aston, Oxon. 

" September i6th, 1885. 

" Dear Sir, — My friend, Mr. , of England, has asked me to 

corroborate the fact that he suffered from a singular depression all the day 
of his wife's fatal seizure. I was in his company most of the day, 
and can fully corroborate his statement. — Yours truly, 

" C. E. Green." 

The next case is from a lady who is willing that her name should be 
given to any one genuinely interested in this case. She is known to the 
present writer as a sensible and clear-headed witness, as far from senti- 
mentality or superstition as can well be conceived. 

" October 27th, 1885. 

{74) " On the Saturday before Easter, 1881, my husband left London 
for Paris. On the Saturday or Sunday evening he was taken ill, at the 
hotel, with congestion of the brain, and wandered about the place delirious. 
Subsequently he was put in a room, and although a man was in attendance, 
he was, in regard to medical advice, etc., quite neglected. He remained 
there some days, and by looking in his papers his name was discovered, 
and his family were communicated with. 

" On the afternoon of Easter Monday, my sons and my daughter had 
gone out, leaving me at home. I fell into an altogether extraordinary 
state of depression and restlessness. I tried in vain to distract mj'-self 
with work and books. I went upstairs and felt beside myself with distress, 
for what reason I could not tell ; I argued with myself, but the feeling 
increased. I even had a violent fit of weeping — a thing absolutely alien 
to my character. I then put on my things, and, in the hope of ridding 
myself of the uncomfortable feeling, took a hansom cab, and drove about 
Hyde Park for about three hours — a thing which I should have considered 
myself stark mad for doing at any other time. I should have been the 
last person to spend eight shillings on cab fare for nothing. On receiving 
the news I went over to Paris, where I arrived on the Thursday, and my 
husband just knew me. The nurse engaged to nurse him told me that she 
was asked by the waiter if my Christian name was M. [Mrs. S.'s name, 
and a not very common one], as that was the name that my husband was 
constantly calling out during his delirium. He died some days afterwards. 

" M. S." 

I learn from both Mrs. S. and her son that she mentioned her remark- 
able experience to her family on the Monday evening. Her son writes as 
follows : — 

" I beg to corroborate my mother's account of the circumstances 
mentioned. Her distress and the circumstances of the cab drive are 
entirely foreign to her character. My father was in delicate health, 
although seldom actually ill. " £_ g " 


In answer to some questions addressed to Mrs. S., Mr. E. S. replies : — 

" My mother had no particular anxiety about my father's health. He 
left on the Saturday for Paris, and was then in his usual health, and she 
did not particularly connect her feelings with him." 

[I suggested a difficulty as to the driving about Hyde Park, since it 
is only in a restricted portion of that park that cabs are permitted to pass. 
But Mrs. S. adheres to the word.] 

[Case 75 is omitted.] 

§ 3. On the supposition that a close natural bond between two persons 
is a favourable condition for telepathic influence, there is one group of 
persons among whom we might expect to find a disproportionate number 
of instances — namely, twins. As a matter of fact, we have a certain 
number of twin cases, which, though actually small, is indisputably dis- 
proportionate, if we remember what an infinitesimally small proportion 
of the population twins form. I will quote here the three examples which 
properly belong to this chapter. It may be of interest to compare them 
with the cases given by Mr. F. Galton {Inquiries into Human Faculty, 
pp. 226-31), of consentaneous thought and action on the part of twins. 
Mr. Galton attributes the coincidences to a specially close similarity of 
constitution. The pair may be roughly compared to two watches, which 
begin to go at the same hour, and keep parallel with one another in their 
advance through life. This theory seems fairly to account for the occur- 
rence of special physiological or pathological crises at the same point of 
the two lives. The twins, though separated, have their croup or their 
whooping-cough simultaneously. The explanation, however^... seems a 
little strained when applied to the simultaneous purchase in different 
towns of two sets of champagne glasses of similar pattern, owing to a 
sudden impulse on the part of each of the twins to surprise the other with 
a present. If it were possible — which it can hardly be — to make sure that 
there had been no previous mention of the subject between the brothers, 
and that the idea was really and complete^ impromptu, one might hint 
that the coincidence here was telepathic. And, at any rate, the cases to 
be now quoted seem outside the range of a pre-established physiological 
harmony ; with them, the alternative is between telepathy and accident. 
[I omit two of these — 76 and 78 — Ed.] The remaining case is from Mr. 
James Carroll, who, when he wrote, was in attendance on an invalid, under 
the care of Dr. Wood, The Priory, Roehampton. I have had a long 
interview with him, as well as a good deal of correspondence ; and I have 
no doubt whatever that the facts are correctly recorded. 

" July, 1884. 

(77) " I beg to forward my experience of about six years ago, while 
living in the employment of Colonel Turbervill, near Bridgend, Glamorgan, 
and a twin brother in the same capacity with a lady at Chobham Place, 
Bagshot, Surrey. 

" I may mention that my brother and I were devotedly attached from 
children, and our resemblance to each other so remarkable that only one 
or two of our family then living, and oldest friends, could distinguish any 


difference between us. Up to June 17th, 1878, I had not known my 
brother to have one day's illness, and in consequence of having about this 
time recovered heavy financial loss, there was this and other unusual cause 
for cheerfulness. But on the morning of the date given, about half-past 
II, I experienced a strange sadness and depression. Unable to account 
for it, I turned to my desk, thinking of my brother. I looked at his last 
letter to see the date, and tried to detect if there was anything unusual 
in it but failed. I wrote off to my brother, closed my desk, and felt 
compelled to exclaim quite aloud, ' My brother or I will break down.' 
This I afterwards found was the first day of his fatal illness. 

" I wrote again to him, but in consequence of his being ill I received 
no reply. We usually wrote twice a week. I tried to persuade myself 
his silence was due to being busy. On the following Saturday, the 22nd, 
while speaking to Mr. Turbervill, a sudden depression, which I had never 
before realised, and which I feel impossible to describe, came over me. I 
felt strange and unwell. I retired as soon as possible, thankful my state 
of mind had not been noticed. I would have gone to my room, but felt it 
might be noticed, and felt frightened too, as if something might suddenly 
happen to me. 

" I went, instead, into the footman's pantry, where they were cleaning 
the plate, and sat down, suppressed my feelings, but alluded to a dulness 
and concern for my brother. I was speaking, when a messenger entered 
with a telegram to announce my brother's dangerous state, and requesting 
my immediate presence. He died on the following Monday morning. It 
is clearly proved that at the time I felt the melancholy described he was 
speaking of me in great distress. We were never considered superstitious, 
and I was never apt to feelings of melanchol3^ 

" My brother and I were well known to Dr. Young, of 30, Westbourne 
Square, Paddington ; and to Mr. Trollope, Solicitor, 31, Abingdon Street, 
Westminster. "James Carroll." 

In repl}^ to inquiries Mr. Carroll says : — 

" August 8th, 1884. 

" I find it difficult now, after the lapse of time and many changes, to 
get the memory of friends to recall the subjects of our correspondence. I 
left South Wales on the death of my brother, and have been moving about 
among strangers ever since ; circumstances on this part of the matter are 
singularly against me. 

" You asked in your previous letter, was the impression of distress 
and apprehension which I described, rare to me in my experience ? I 
never before felt anything like it, except in a milder form, before the 
death of my mother, about 14 years ago, while I was at Lord Robarts' - 
seat in Arnhill, and my mother in London. The sensation then was 
about two or three days previous to her death. I have always been an 
opponent to ghost theory, and till my brother's death I never thought to 
entertain the idea that there could be any unseen power in the thought of 

" My brother's death was from a cold neglected, and infiammation 
rapidly setting in. We were twins, his age at time of death 39 about. 
From our extraordinary resemblance we were well known. I may mention 
my brother being the only near relation left. 

" I sent to Ireland for signatures to a distant relati^^'e, who was with 
me as an adopted son shortly after my brother's death, for about two 
years. He is about 18 years of age ; his name, too, is James Carroll. His 
corroboration comes very close to the time. 

" An old friend, of 25 years, 30 I think, holding a good position in one 


of our chief banking houses, also promised to corroborate, a day or two 
ago. I enclose now a note from him, just received. He remembers the 
subject. I often, just after my brother's death, spoke of it to him. 


A nephew and namesake of Mr. Carroll's writes as follows : — 

" Clonmel, Ireland. 

" August loth, 1884. 
" I hereby certify that Mr. Carroll frequently, during the early part of 
my residence with hin, about 5 years ago, spoke of the presentiment he 
describes in a letter written to you, a copy of which he has sent me. 

" James Carroll." 

The following is a letter to Mr. Carroll from Mr. James Martin, of i, 
Oak Villa, Avenue Road, Acton. 

" August 1 6th, 1884. 
" Dear James, — From the time of your brother's death till the present, 
I have spent much time in your society. I remember v.ell the account you 
gave me of the dreadful depression of mind you passed through just 
previous to his death. It vv^as singular, but true. 

" James Martin." 

Mr. Carroll showed me a letter written by Mrs. Benyan, his brother's 
employer, at the time when the brother was dangerously ill. The letter 
is to a solicitor, and expresses a desire that he, James Carroll, should 
be informed of the illness. It proves that the illness was sudden and that 
Mr. Carroll was unav\^are of it. 

§ 4. We may now pass to a group of these cases in which the primary 
element of the emotional impression is a sense of being wanted — an impulse 
to go somewhere or do something. 

The first example is from the Rev. E. D. Banister, of Whitechapel 
Vicarage, Preston. 

" November 12th, 1885. 

(79) " My father on the day of his death had gone out of the house 
about 2.30 p.m., to have his usual afternoon stroll in the garden and 
fields. He had not been absent more than 7 or 8 minutes when, as I 
was talking to my wife and sister, I was seized with a very urgent desire 
to go to him. (The conversation related to a visit which we proposed to 
pay that afternoon to a neighbour, and no allusion was made to my 
father.) The feeling that I ought to go and see him came upon me with 
irresistible force. I insisted upon all in the house going out to find my 
father. I was remonstrated with — my very anxiety seeming so unreason- 
able. My father's afternoon stroll was a regular habit of life in fine 
weather, and I had no reason to give why on that particular occasion I 
must insist on his being found. Search was made, and it was my sad lot 
to find him dead in the field, in a place which, according to the route he 
ordinarily adopted, he would have reached about 7 or 8 minutes after 
leaving the house. 

" My idea is that when he felt the stroke of death coming upon him 
he earnestly desired to see me, and that, by the operation of certain 
psychical laws, the desire was communicated to me. 

" E. D. Banister." 


In reply to inquiries Mr. Banister adds : — 

" In reply to your letter I have to state : — 

" I . Vivid impressions of the kind I have related are utterly unknown 
to me ; the one related is unique in my experience. 

"2. There was not the least cause for anxiety owing to the absence 
of my father. It only seemed a short time since he had gone out of the 
room, and on this account my urgency was deemed unreasonable. 

" 3. The date was January gth, 1883." 

We have confirmed this date by the obituary notice in the Preston 

Mr. Banister's wife and sister supply the following corroboration : — 

" We have seen the statement which Mr. Banister has forwarded to 
the Psychical Research Society, relating to the strong impression by 
which he was irresistibly urged in search of his father on the afternoon 
of January gth, 1883, and we are able to confirm all details given in that 
statement. " Mary Banister. 

" Agnes Banister." 

In conversation Mr. Banister informed me that his father was a 
remarkably hale old man, and there had never been the slightest anxiety 
about his being out alone. He further mentioned that the compulsion 
seemed to come to him " from outside." 

The fono-,ving instance is from Mrs. C, of 11, Upper Hamilton Terrace, 

" December 17th, 1883. 

(80) " On December 2nd, 1877, I was at church. My children wished 
to remain to a christening. I said, ' I cannot, somebody seems calling me ; 
something is the matter.' I returned home to find nothing ; but next 
morning two telegrams summoned me to the death-bed of my husband, 
from whom I had had a cheerful letter on the Saturday, and who left me 
in excellent spirits the Thursday before. I only arrived in time to see 
him die." 

The following is the sons' corroboration : — 

" We remember, perfectly, our mother leaving the church, saying she 
felt she was wanted, someone was calling her. The next day our father 
died, December 3rd, 1877. " George C. 

" John A. C." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. C. says : — 

" February 19th, 1884. 

(i) "I cannot say that the experience of some one calling me was 
unique. I have often had strong impressions of things occurring, and 
such things have happened, but not having set down the dates, I could 
not be sufficiently certain to satisfy myself. ^ 

(2) " My husband wrote me a cheerful letter on the Friday, November 
30th, and on the Saturday, December ist, only mentioning that he was a 
little bilious, but that he was going to Leicester that afternoon. He was, 
however, so much worse that afternoon that he went to bed. In the night 
he was found by a gentleman to be out of bed, and unable to get in, and 
he mistook the gentleman for me. All Sunday he was dying, and my 
friends could not telegraph, and there was no train. On Monday I received 
two telegrams, early in the morning. As soon as I read your letter my 

^ One of these cases [No. 204, omitted here], however, seems to have been quite 


sons both said they remembered the circumstance quite well and signed 
the enclosed. George was 10 years old, John 12 years." 

Asked whether she would have been certain to stay for the christening 
under ordinary circumstances, Mrs. C. replied in the affirmative ; and that 
the boys were disappointed. She is without any theory on these matters ; 
and simply reports an undoubted experience. 

The following case is very similar. The narrator is Mr. A. Skirving, 
foreman at Winchester Cathedral. 

" Cathedral Yard, Winchester. 

" January 31st, 1884. 

(81) "I respectfully beg to offer you a short statement of my experience 
on a subject which I do not understand. Let me premise that I am not a 
scholar, as I left school when 12 years of age in 1827, and I therefore 
hope you will forgive all sins against composition and grammar. I am a 
working foreman of masons at Winchester Cathedral, and have been 
for the last 9 years a resident in this city. I am a native of 

" It is now more than 30 years ago that I was living in London, very 
near where the Great Western Railway now stands, but which was not 
then built. I was working in the Regent's Park for Messrs. Mowlem, 
Burt, and Freeman, who at that time had the Government contract for 
3 years for the mason's work of the capital, and who yet carry on a mighty 
business at Millbank, Westminster. I think it was Gloucester Gate, if 1 
mistake not. At all events, it was that gate of Regent's Park to the east- 
ward of the Zoological Gardens, at the north-east corner of the park. The 
distance from my home was too great for me to get home to meals, so I 
carried my food with me, and therefore had no call to leave the work all 
day. On a certain day, however, I suddenly felt an intense desire to go 
home, but as I had no business there I tried to suppress it,— but it was not 
possible to do so. Every minute the desire to go home increased. It was 
10 in the morning, and I could not think of anything to call me away from 
the work at such a time. I got fidgety and uneasy, and felt as if I must 
go, even at the risk of being ridiculed by my wife, as I could give no reason 
why I should leave my work and lose 6d. an hour for nonsense. However, 
I could not sta)^ and I set off for home under an impulse which I could 
not resist. 

" When I reached my own door and knocked, the door was opened by 
my wife's sister, a married woman, who lived a few streets off. She looked 
surprised, and said, ' Why, Skirving, how did you know ? ' ' Know 
what ? ' I said. ' Why, about Mary Ann.' I said, ' I don't know anything 
about Mary Ann ' (my wife) . ' Then what brought you home at present ? ' 
I said, ' I can hardly tell you. I seemed to want to come home. But what 
is wrong ? ' I asked. She told me that my wife had been run over by a cab, 
and been most seriously injured about an hour ago, and she had called for 
me ever since, but was now in fits, and had several in succession. I went 
upstairs, and though very ill she recognised me, and stretched forth her 
arms, and took m.e round the neck and pulled my head down into her 
bosom. The fits passed away directly, and my presence seemed to tran- 
quillise her, so that she got into sleep, and did well. Her sister told me 
that she had uttered the most piteous cries for me to come to her, although 
there was not the least likelihood of my coming. This short narrative 
has only one merit ; it is strictly true. 

" Alexander Skirving." 


In answer to the question whether the time of the accident corresponded 
with the time when he felt a desire to go home, Mr. Skirving says : — 

" I asked my wife's sister what time the accident occurred, and she 
said, ' An hour and a half ago ' — that is from the time I came home. 
Now, that was exactly coincident with the time I wanted to leave work. 
It took me an hour to walk home ; and I was quite half an hour struggling 
in my mind to overcome the wish to leave work before I did so." 

He adds : " You ask me if I ever had a similar impression on any 
other occasion. I never had. It was quite a single and unique experience." 

Mr. Skirving's wife is dead. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Vye, is in New 
Zealand. Her husband, writing from Otago on July ist, 1885, says 
that she cannot now give particulars of the occurrence, though she 
remembers the accident very well. 

[Cases 82 to 85 are omitted.] 

It is necessary, of course [in such cases], to be sure that the line of action 
adopted by the percipient was really an unlikely one. It may look so, with- 
out really having been so. For instance. Miss Lindsay, of 58, Lloyd Street, 
Greenhays, Manchester, has given us an account of an unusually long walk 
which she suddenly undertook against advice, with the view of seeing an 
aunt who was almost a stranger to her. 

" The day was very unsuitable for a walk of a number of miles. It 
threatened to rain, and began before I had got far on my way. I took a 
wrong turning, too, in a brown study, and returned in a loop to the same 
road, so that I found myself, late in the afternoon, again near the tram 
terminus, by which I might have gone home, instead of near my destina- 
tion. By this time my thin print dress was soaked through by the rain, 
for I had no cloak, yet I never thought of turning homewards. After 
walking some 14 miles, I arrived at the house, to find that my aunt had 
died suddenly of acute rheumatism that morning. 

" Now, looking back on the matter, I see that native obstinacy might 
account for my starting in spite of counsel and weather, but it would 
not account for my visiting a relation I did not know well, and whom I 
did know to be particular about appearances, in a dripping dress. What 
I am particularly sure about is that it never once struck me that my 
proceeding was odd ; which, to my mind, proves conclusively that the 
initial impulse must have been stronger than an everyday freak." 

Still, it may have been a freak, though not an " everyday " one. Miss 
Lindsay had just returned from the seaside " in excellent health, though 
in circumstances of considerable worry." Thus an excuse for a long walk 
may have been readily caught at, and the " native obstinacy " may have 
done the rest. The case, moreover, lacks the important evidential point 
which marked those that preceded it — the desire on the part of the sup- 
posed agent for the other person's presence. We have another case where 
a walk was suddenly taken, and pursued in torrents of rain, in spite of 
two attempts to return, under an idea that an acquaintance v%'-as on the 
point of death. She died the same evening. But she had been for some 
years an object of care to the person who visited her, and though the 
latter says, " I had not seen her for some weeks, possibly months before, 
and I did not know she was ill or likely to die," the case is one which we 
can hardly include. 

The doubt as to what can be considered unlikely conduct on the per- 


cipient's part has i-elegated several alleged cases of this class to the Supple- 
ment. Among these are two of considerable interest. One of them is 
from Mr. Frederick Morgan, of Nugent Hill, Bristol, who records how he 
once made a sudden and unaccountable exit in the middle of a lecture, and 
walked home, unconscious of having done anything unusual, to find his 
house in imminent danger from fire, and his mother strongly desiring his 
presence. We have Mr. Morgan's assurance that he was thoroughly 
interested in the discourse, and had even noticed a friend with whom he 
had planned to walk home when it was over ; otherwise the impulse to 
leave a lecture-room might not seem the best possible specimen of an 
abnormal experience. The second case is from the Dr. Fischer quoted [in 
p. 71 here omitted], who went to a jubilee dinner, and " had not been at 
table more than an hour," when he was forced to go out by an overpower- 
ing conviction that some one was in need of his assistance. This heroic 
step, taken on a comparatively empty stomach, was (as it turned out) 
fully justified. But we must remember that an impression of being 
wanted is a very deep and abiding element of a medical man's experience. 
The following case is better worth quotation, for the very reason that 
the percipient was not a doctor. We received it from Mr. Rowlands, of 
Bryncethin, near Bridgend, mentioned above (p. 182). 

" July 2nd, 1884. 
(86) " There was a Calvinistic Methodist minister, named Thomas 
Howell, Kinffig Hill, near Bridgend. He was preaching at Pen-y-graig, 
and resided not far from my house. I was disturbed in my mind about 
him about 12 or i o'clock in the morning. I rose from bed, and put my 
clothes on, went to his lodgings and knocked at his door, and told them 
that I was disturbed about the minister. I went in and up to his bed- 
room, and found him sitting down on the side of the bed, sweating, and as 
ill and as painful as could be. This happened about 6 years ago. You 
can write to Mr. Howell if you wish. - Rowland Rowlands." 

Mr. Howell writes to us as follows : — 

" Longiands, Wyle. 

" July i6th, 18S4. 

" I beg to inform you that the contents of the enclosed letter, which I 
received from you, sent to you from Mr. Rowland Rowlands, are quite 
true, and more than is stated in his letter. The night it took place, 
August loth, 1879, I shall never forget, for, I believe, had it not been that 
some unknown agency sent me assistance, that I would have realised the 
mysteries of another world in a short time. 

" The narrative is simply this. I was preaching at Pen-y-graig, the 
Sabbath referred to. I slept in a house near the chapel. After the service 
a few friends sat awhile with me conversing. After they left, about 10 
o'clock, I took a little food, a cup of tea and a small bit of bread and butter, 
and retired to sleep about half-past 10, quite healthy, feeling no pain or 
uneasiness whatever. Somevv^here between 12 and i o'clock I awoke with 
a severe attack of pain in the stomach, — remained a little in bed, but 
thinking death had struck me, I turned out on the bedside and attempted 
to call the landlady, but failed to do so. I could not move any further 
nor speak. In a few minutes I heard a voice at the door, outside, calling 
the landlady, who was in bed. He succeeded in awaking her and 
she replied from the landing — ' Who is there ? ' To which Mr. Rowlands 


replied, ' Open the door at once ; I have been disturbed in bed ; there is 
something the matter with the preacher.' To which she replied, ' I don't 
think so ; he has not called.' I heard Mr. Rowlands speak again : ' Make 
haste, Mrs. Phillips,' which time I believe, Mrs. Phillips, the landlady, was 
dressing herself, and ran downstairs and opened the door. Mr. Rowlands 
and herself came to my bedroom at once and knocked at my door. Receiv- 
ing no answer, Mr. Rowlands opened the door, and found me in the 
position mentioned in his letter to you. He asked me, ' What is the 
matter with you, Mr. Howell ? ' to which I could not reply. I was by 
this time speechless. He told me again, ' I was disturbed in my bed 
about you ; shall we have a doctor ? ' to which I shook my head, meaning 
' No.' I thought everything was almost over. A few moments again I 
was unconscious and for hours after knew nothing. When I came to 
myself, I saw Mr. Rowlands and Mrs. Phillips in the room. They remained 
with me till the morning. I gradually got better, and when Mr. Rowlands 
left me between 7 and 8 o'clock he remarked to me, ' I really thought 
you were going to die. How strange, was it not, that I was disturbed so ! 
Can you account for it ? ' I replied, ' No, if it was not that the Almighty 
had sent you to save me.' 

" I have no inore to say nor explain, but I know the facts are true. 

" Thos. Howell." 

Another letter of Mr. Howell's explains that the illness consisted in 
painful spasms, from which he had occasionally suffered, and that Mr. 
Rowlands " held him quiet." It is not clear that Mr. Rowlands' presence 
had anything to do with his recovery, though it was a great support to 
him. But as the illness and pain seem to have been extremely sudden, 
the coincidence is striking. 

And here I may recall what was said above (p. 74) on the subject of 
will in relation to telepathy. The remarks which were made a propos of 
experimental cases derive strong confirmation from the more recent evi- 
dence. It is clear, I think, that in the cases last considered the telepathic 
influence should be interpreted as primarily emotional, rather than con- 
trolling or directive. In none of them should I regard the determination 
of the percipient's motor-impulse as at all directly due to the strong desire 
of the agent that he should act in that particular manner. I doubt if any 
amount of the most determined " willing," on the part of the strongest- 
minded friend or relative, would have brought Mr. Skirving from his work, 
Mr. Rowlands from his bed, or Dr. Fischer from his dinner. But we may 
quite conceive that Mrs. Skirving's distress and agitation might set up in 
her husband's mind a disturbance associated with the idea that he was 
needed ; and this might naturally affect his behaviour in the same way 
as an actual knowledge of the circumstances would have done, without 
the slightest abrogation of his normal power of choice. In Mr. Morgan's 
case the transferred impression (if it was one) did not reach the level of an 
idea at all, nor did the disturbance even take the form of distress, but only 
made itself felt in the complete distraction of his mind from its obvious 
and normal activities. But such distraction implies a genuine disturb- 
ance ; and since the idea of the locality — home — would naturally have a 
permanent place at the background of his mind, it is not hard to see how 
the disturbance might be attracted into this obvious channel, and might 
thus transform itself into a motor-impulse by a process which quite eluded 


I will illustrate this view by a final and extreme case, where the move- 
ments produced in the percipient were not such as the agent can have 
desired, or even thought of. The narrator is Dr. Liebeault, of 4, Rue 
Bellevue, Nancy. 

" 4 Septembre, 1885. 

(87) " Je m'empresse de vous ecrire an sujet du fait de communication 
de pensee dont je vous ai parle, lorsque vous m'avez fait I'honneur d'assis- 
ter a mes seances hypnotiques a Nancy. Ce fait se passa dans une famille 
francaise de la Nouvelle-Orleans, et qui etait venue habiter quelque temps 
Nancy, pour y liquider une affaire d'interet. J'avais fait connaissance de 
cette famille parceque son chef, M. G., m'avait amene sa niece, Mile. B., 
pour que je la traitasse par les precedes hypnotiques. Elle etait atteinte 
d'une anemie legere et d'une toux nerveuse contractees a Coblentz, dans 
une maison d'education oii elle etait professeur. Je parvins facilement a 
la mettre en somnambulisme, et elle fut guerie en deux seances. La pro- 
duction de cet etat de sommeil ayant demontre a la famille G. et a Mile. 
B. qu'elle pourrait facilement devenir medium (Mme. G. etait medium 
spirite), cette demoiselle s'exerca a evoquer, a I'aide de la plume, les esprits, 
auxquels elle croyait sincerement, et au bout de deux mois elle fut un 
remarquable medium ecrivante. C'est elle que j'ai vue de mes yeux tracer 
rapidement des pages d'ecriture qu'elle appelait des messages, et cela en 
des termes choisis et sans aucune rature, en meme temps qu'elle tenait 
conversations avec les personnes qui I'entouraient. Chose curieuse, elle 
n'avait nullement conscience de ce qu'elle ecrivait ; ' aussi,' disait-elle, ' ce 
ne pent etre qu'un esprit qui dirige ma main, ce n'est pas moi.'^ 

" Un jour — c'etait, je crois, le 7 Fevrier, 1868 — vers 8 heures du 
matin, au moment de se mettre a table pour dejeuner, elle sentit un 
besoin, un quelque chose qui la poussait a ecrire (c'etait ce qu'elle appelait 
une trance) — et elle courut immediateraent vers son grand cahier, oii elle 
traca febrilement, au cra^-on, des caracteres indechiffrables. Elle retraca 
les memes caracteres sur les pages suivantes, et enfin I'excitation de son 
esprit se calmant, on put lire qu'une personne nommee Marguerite lui 
annongait sa mort. On supposa aussitot qu'une demoiselle de ce nom qui 
etait son amie, et habitait, comme professeur, le meme pensionnat de 
Coblentz oii elle avait exerce les meme fonctions, venait d'y mourir. Toute 
la famille G., compris Mile. B., vinrent immediatement chez moi, et nous 
decidames de verifier, le jour meme, si ce fait de mort avait reellement eu 
lieu. Mile. B. ecrivit a une demoiselle anglaise de ses amis, qui exergait 
aussi les memes fonctions d'institutrice dans le pensionnat en question ; 
elle pretexta un motif, ayant bien soin de ne pas reveler le motif vrai. 
Poste pour poste, nous resumes une reponse en anglais, dont on me copia 
la partie essentielle— reponse que j'ai ixtrouvee dans une portefeuille il y 
a a peine quinze jours, et egaree de nouveau. Elle exprimait I'etonnement 
de cette dem^oiselle anglaise au sujet de la lettre de Mile. B., lettre qu'elle 
n'attendait pas sitot, vu que le but ne lui en paraissait pas assez motive. 
Mais en meme temps, I'amie anglaise se hatait d'annoncer a notre medium 
que leur amie commune. Marguerite, etait morte le 7 Fevrier vers les 
8 heures du matin. En outre, un petit carre de papier imprime etait 
interre dans la lettre ; c'etait un billet de mort et de faire part. Inutile 
de vous dire que je verifiai I'enveloppe de la lettre, et que la lettre me 
parut venir reellement de Coblentz. 

" Seulement j'ai eu depuis des regrets. C'est de n'avoir pas, dans 

' I need hardly point out the fallacy of this argument. See the discussion and 
examples of automatic writing in Chap, ii., § 12. 


I'interet de la science, demand^ a la famille G. d'aller avec eux verifier au 
bureau telegraphique si, reellement, ils n'auraient pas reju une d^peche 
t^legraphique dans la matinee du 7 Fevrier. La science ne doit pas avoir 
de pudeur ; la verite ne craint pas d'etre vue. Je n'ai comme preuve de 
la veracite du fait qu'une preuve morale : c'est Thonorabilite de la famille 
G., qui m'a paru toujours au dessus de tout soupgon. 

" A. A. LlEBEAULT." 

[Apart from the improbability that the whole family would join in a 
conspiracy to deceive their friend, the nature of the answer received from 
Coblentz shows that the writer of it cannot have been aware that any 
telegraphic announcement had been sent. And it is in itself unlikely that 
the authorities of the school would have felt it necessary instantly to 
communicate the news to Mdlle. B.] 

This example, it will be seen, differs from the preceding in the distinct- 
ness of the idea which — albeit latent in the percipient's mind — we must 
hold to have been transferred. Its chief interest, however, lies in the 
completeness and complexity of the automatism evolved. It exhibits a 
spontaneous telepathic impulse taking effect through the motor-system 
of the percipient in the very way that M. Richet's or our own deliberate 
efforts took effect on the " medium " (pp. 57-63). The parallel could not 
well be closer ; and our view of the essential continuity of experimental 
and spontaneous telepathy 1 could hardly receive stronger support. 

^ See above, p. 129. 



§ I . The inward impressions of distant events with which I have so far dealt 
have all been waking impressions. They have visited the percipient in the 
midst of his daily employments, and have often caused emotions that 
seemed quite incongruous with the normal current of life in which they 
mingled. But there is another department of experience which we are 
accustomed to consider as par excellence the domain of inward impres- 
sions, and from which the normal current of life is altogether shut off — 
the department of dreams. And this department, where inward ideas and 
images dominate unchecked, is also one which covers so large a period of 
human existence as to make it ci, priori probable that a considerable 
number of " transferred impressions " (supposing such things to exist) 
would fall within it. It would naturally, therefore, suggest itself as our 
next field of inquiry. 

But dreams not only fall in naturally at this point ; they are a means 
of advance. They comprise in themselves the whole range of transition 
from ideal and emotional to distinctly sensory affections ; and they thus 
supply a most convenient link between the vaguer sort of transferred 
impressions and the more concrete and definitely embodied sort. The 
telepathic communications of the last two chapters, even when connected 
with recognisable images of persons and things, did not affect sight or 
hearing in such a way as to suggest the physical presence of the objects. 
Now many dreams are of just this impalpable kind. The material objects 
which figure in them are often the very vaguest of images, not localised 
in any particular spot. It is the general idea, the generalised form, of a 
person that presents itself, not a figure in a special attitude or clad in a 
special dress ; events pass through the mind clothed in the faintly repre- 
sented imagery in which a waking train of memory or of reverie will 
embody its contents. Such a dream only differs from a waking reverie in 
that^ it has not to compete, on the field of attention, with any 
objective facts; it is not contrasted with the immediate experience 
which the external world forces at every moment on the waking 
senses ; and it is, therefore, itself accepted as immediate experience. 
With some persons it is rare for their dreams ever to emerge into more 
concrete actuality than this ; and telepathy often seems to act in dreams 
of just such a veiled and abstract kind. From this lowest stage the tran- 
sition is a gradual one up to the most vivid and detailed dream-imagery, 
the features of which are engraved on the memory as sharply as those of 



a striking scene in waking life' ; and at avftxy step of the transition we 
find evidence (how far conclusive will be seen later) to the action of tele- 

It is only, however, when we come to the most distinctly sensory class 
of all that the full theoretic importance of dreams can be realised. To 
make this clear, I must ask a moment's indulgence for a statement of some 
very obvious facts. Vivid dreams present themselves to us in two very 
different aspects. There is first the standpoint which we occupy when we 
are dreaming them. From that standpoint, the world with which they 
present us is often as external as the real one ; and our perceptions in 
that world are perceptions of outward and abiding things, among which 
we live and move with as much sense of reality as if we had never known 
the disillusion of waking. To the dreamer, his more vivid and concrete 
images are actual percepts, calling his senses (in physiological language 
his sensory centres) into play just as external reality would. But there 
is of course a totally different standpoint from which to regard dreams, 
namely, the external and critical one that we habitually assume during 
waking life. We then think of them merely as that floating phantasma- 
goria whose transience and unreality have been the theme of philosophers 
and poets ; which has very singular relations to time, and no real rela- 
tions at all to our familiar space — unless, indeed, we loosely identify it 
with its physical conditions, and localise it in the brain. Dreams, then, 
have this peculiarity : they are distinct affections of the senses, which 
yet, in reflecting on them, we rarely or nev^r confound with objective 
facts ; waking hallucinations, on the other hand — spectral illusions or 
ghostly visitants — are often so confounded. The sleeping experiences are 
marked off from external reality in the minds of all of us by the very fact 
that we wake from them ; our change of condition makes their vanishing 
seem natural ; and thus looked back on, they will often seem to have 
been mere vague representations, i.e., something less than affections of 
the senses. The waking experiences cannot be woke from ; their vanish- 
ing seems unconnected with the percipient and therefore Mwnatural ; and 
thus looked back on, they will often seem to have been independent 
realities, i.e., something more than affections of the senses. 

Now it is as affections of the senses, and not as independent realities, 
that our Class A, the externalised sort of " phantasms of the living," are 

^ Those whose dreams are habituallj' of the more ideal and impalpable sort have 
sometimes a difficulty in realising the extreme sensory vividness of dreams at the 
other end of the scale, dreamt often by persons who have no exceptional power of 
visualising when awake. I myself lately dreamt that, meeting a stranger in Bond 
Street, I was arrested by a certain familiarity in the face, which I continued to 
scrutinise with puzzled eagerness, till I at last identified it with a portrait in the 
Grosvenor Gallery of the preceding year. Awake, I can scarcely recall the portrait 
at all. 

I have also heard it asserted that (apart from actual external sounds) tte sense of 
hearing is never distinctly exercised in dreams. I never had a more vivid dream than 
one of a few nights back, where some rifle- shooting, in the midst of which I found 
myself, caused me again and again precisely the same dread before the sound came, 
and the same intense irritation when it came, as I associate with the firing of a pistol 
on the stage. I could distinctly trace this dream to a similar (though less acute) 
irritation which I had suffered from the cracking of whips in a foreign city on the 
previous day. 


treated in this book. In the theory that the percipient is impressed from 
a distance, and in the very word phantasm, it is implied that what he sees 
or hears has no objective basis or existence in that part of the external 
world where his body is situated ; and whether he be asleep or awake, 
his relation to what he perceives, and of this to reality, is the same. But 
I shall be proceeding by the easiest route if (so far as the evidence will 
allow) I first trace the occurrence of the telepathic phantasms in the region 
of experience where sensory phantasms of some sort are normal and 
familiar, and are habitually judged of rightly as affections of the inner 
sense,! before passing to the region where phantasms of any sort are 
abnormal and unfamiliar, and are perpetually judged of wrongly as 
affections of the outer sense. The rapprochement which will thus be 
established between the sleeping and the waking cases will receive further 
and interesting illustration in certain intermediate stages which we shall 
encounter on the way. We shall find that one set of phenomena merges 
into the other by gradual steps, and that this " borderland " is itself a 
region specially rich in the telepathic impressions. 

§ 2. But though dreams thus present a logical point of departure, they 
also form in many ways the most assailable part of our case. They are 
placed almost in a separate category by their intimate connection with 
the lowest physical, as well as the highest psychical, operations. The 
grotesque medley which constantly throng through the gate of ivory 
thrust into discredit our rarer visitants through the gate of horn. And 
before proceeding further, it will be well to examine with some care the 
general evidential value of dreams, in relation to a theory of transferred 
impressions. The field may seem a fair one enough, as long as we keep to 
general expectations ; if telepathy is a reality, here is a probable scene of 
telepathic events. But what opportunities does it afford for confirming 
these expectations by accurate and convincing evidence ? This is a 
question which may rapidly convert our hopes into doubts. 

The first objection to dreams, as evidence for transferred impressions 
of distant conditions or events, is this — that dreams being often somewhat 
dim and shapeless things, subsequent knowledge of the conditions or 
events may easily have the effect of giving body and definiteness to the 
recollection of a dream. When the actual facts are learnt, a faint amount 
of resemblance may often suggest a past dream, and set the mind on the 
track of trying accurately to recall it. This very act involves a search for 
details, for something tangible and distinct ; and the real features and 
definite incidents which are now present in the mind, in close association 
with some general scene or fact which actually figured in the dream, will 
be apt to be unconsciously read back into the dream. They make part of 
the original, of which the mind conceives the dream to have been a pic- 
ture ; and the picture, when evoked in memory, will only too probably 
include details drawn from the original. After we have once realised the 

! This term implies tlia.t sensation, from a physical point of view, is inverted ; 
that the initial stimulation takes place in the higher tracts of the brain, and that the 
stimulation of the special sensory apparatus is produced by a downward centrifugal 
current. The point will be further noticed in connection with waking hallucinations 
(see pp. 311-12). 


matter in its full distinctness, it becomes almost impossible to recall with 
due indistinctness the distant and shadowy suggestion of it. Dreams in 
this way resemble objects seen in the dusk ; Avhich begin by puzzling the 
eye, but which, when once we know or think we know what they are, seem 
quite unmistakable and even full of familiar detail. For our purposes, there- 
fore, it is of prime importance that the dream shall be told in detail to 
some one on whose memory we can rely ; or, better stiU, written down, 
or in some way acted on, at the time, and before the confirmation arrives. 
Nearly all the evidence to be brought forward has, at any rate, this mark 
of accuracy. 

But there is a more general and sweeping objection. Millions of people 
are dreaming every night ; and in dreams, if anywhere, the range of 
possibilities seems infinite ; can any positive conclusion be drawn from 
such a chaos of meaningless and fragmentary impressions ? Must not 
we admit the force of the obvious a priori argument, that among the 
countless multitude of dreams, one here and there is likely to correspond 
in time with an actual occurrence resembling the one dreamed of ; and 
that when a dream thus " comes true," unscientific minds are sure to note 
and store up the fact as something extraordinary, without taking the 
trouble to reflect whether such incidents occur oftener than pure chance 
would allow ? Can the chances be at all estimated ? Are any valid 
means at hand for distinguishing between a transferred impression and 
a lucky coincidence ? What degree of exactitude of date and circum- 
stance must be reached, before we consider even a striking correspondence 
as worth attention ? And what proportion of striking correspondences 
are we to demand, before we consider that the hypothesis of chance is 
strained in accounting for them ? 

In the first place, it is to be noted that there has, so far, been a com- 
plete lack of the statistics which alone could form the basis for an answer 
to these questions. It has never been known with any certainty what 
proportion of people habitually dream, what proportion of dreams are 
remembered at all, in what proportion of these remembered dreams the 
memory is evanescent, and in what proportion it is profound and durable. 
This latter point may be specially hard to establish satisfactorily in a 
particular case, as it is affected by the question whether a person's atten- 
tion is habitually directed to his dreams, and also by the question whether 
he has happened to recount a particular dream to others, and so to stamp 
it on his own memory. By making inquiries on a large scale, however, a 
considerable approximation to certainty ma^^^ be attained on these and 
various other points of importance. A good deal has been done in this 
way during the last three years ; and though I cannot say that the re- 
sults are such as would allow us to base a theory of telepathy upon the 
facts of dreams alone, I think that they do much to diminish the d priori 
plausibility of the theory of chance, as a sufficient explanation of all cases 
of marked correspondence between a dream and an external event. 

§ 3. The points to be considered have to do both with the intensity and 
with the content of the dream ; let us consider them in order. 

First as to intensity. An exceedingly small proportion of dreams are 
remembered with distinctness several hours after waking. Even of the 


dreams which dwell in the memorj^ an exceedingly small proportion 
produce any appreciable amount of distress or excitement. And of these 
more impressive dreams, an exceedingly small proportion prove their 
intensity by being in any way acted on. What I have termed intensity 
may be indicated in another way, by the rapid repetition of a distinct 
dream two or three times on the same night ; and this, too, when there 
is no apparent cause to prompt the dream, seems to be a compara- 
tively rare occurrence. The dreams to be cited in this book will 
nearly all, I think, be distinguishable by one or other of these tests of 
exceptional intensity. And in proportion as the dreams which coincide 
with the event dreamed of are thus found to be in some other way excep- 
tional — in proportion as the class to which they belong is found to form 
a small and sparse minority among the swarming multitude of unmarked 
dreams — in that proportion does it clearly become unreasonable to argue 
that the coincidences are sufficiently accounted for by the law of chances. 
The argument which might seem effective so long as we had the whole 
multitude of dreams to range over — that multitude seeming sufficient to give 
the law of chances ample scope — assumes quite a different aspect when we 
find ourselves limited to the comparatively small group of intense dreams. 

Next as to content. Before we can give weight to a dream-coinci- 
dence as pointing to anything beyond the operation of chance, we should 
inquire whether the event dreamed of is distinct, unexpected, and unusual. 
If it combine all three characteristics in a high degree, its evidential 
value may be very considerable ; in proportion as the degree falls short, 
or the combination fails, the evidential value sinks ; and none of the 
characteristics taken alone, even though present in a high degree, would 
lead us to include a dream in the present collection. Thus, the dream- 
content must be neither a vague impression of calamity nor of happiness ; 
nor a catastrophe on which the sleeper's mind is already fixed ; nor some 
such ordinary event as has frequently occurred in waking experience. It 
may, indeed, be not the less significant for being trivial ; but in that case 
it must be of a bizarre or unlikely kind. Then again, amount of detail, 
and the number of connected events, are of immense importance, as each 
subsequently verified detail tells with ever-mounting strength against the 
hypothesis of accidental coincidence. Once more, dream-content must 
be considered to some extent in relation to the dream-habits of the par- 
ticular dreamer. Before estimating the value of the fact that a person 
has dreamt of the sudden death of a friend on the night when the death 
took place, we should have to ascertain that that person is not in the habit 
of dreaming of distressing or horrible events. In respect of these various 
points, the instances to be cited, here and in the Supplement, are the 
sifted survival of many less definite coincidences in which the popular 
imagination would find a marvel. And in the case of this residue, where 
we have complete fulfilment of some of the above conditions, over and 
abo^'e the close proximity in time, or (it may be) absolute sjmchronism, 
of the event and the dream, the question as to a causal connection between 
the two is, at any rate, not to be swept out of court b^y a mere general 
appeal to the doctrine of chances. 

But there is a further point in the content of the dreams that corre- 
spond with real events — true dreams, as we may for brevity call them — 


which cannot but strike the attention as soon as we begin to examine 
actual specimens. It is that, among true dreams, by very far the largest 
class is the class where the truth is death — i.e., where the event dreamt of 
as happening to another is of that most restricted kind which can only 
happen once in each individual's experience. Out of the 149 coincident 
dreams which are included in this book — as at least clearly finding in 
telepathy, if it exists, their most natural explanation — no less than 79 
have represented or suggested death. This, it will be seen, is entirely in 
accordance with a theory of causal connection between event and dream, 
where the abnormal state of the person dreamt of is regarded as part of 
the cause ; but it is not at all in accordance with what we should expect 
accident to bring about. Nor could this argument well be met by the 
assumption that it is only in the case of a very grave event that the acci- 
dental correspondence attracts attention and gets recorded. For this 
would mean that the dreams of death which happen to correspond with 
reality are one specially-remembered class among the total number of 
accidentally-true dreams. Now it will be admitted that dreams of death 
constitute a minute proportion of all dreams ; it would follow, then, on 
the above assum^ption, that accidentally-true dreams of death constitute 
a similarly minute proportion of all accidentally-true dreams. But at this 
rate the total number of " true dreams " — in other words, the number of 
coincidences which the doctrine of chances will have to cover — swells to a 
most prodigious and unmanageable figure. It is just because a " true 
dream " is a very exceptional occurrence, that it was possible even to 
attempt to account for it as an accident ; if the " accident " is for ever 
" coming off," so much the worse for that attempt. 

§ 4. But the fact that a singular and marked event, such as death, is 
in so large a proportion of cases the central feature of the " true " dreams, 
supplies more than a general argument ; it supplies the means for an 
actual numerical estimate whereby the adequacy of the chance-hypo- 
thesis may be tested. For dreams of so definite a character, and which admit 
of being so clearly and briefly described, are quite a fit subject for statis- 
tics ; there is a possibility of finding out approximately what the actual 
frequency of a dream of this sort is ; and we shall then have the first 
necessary datum for deciding whether the frequency of the cases where it 
coincides with reality, is, or is not, greater than chance would fairly allow. 
If it turned out that all of us about once a week had a marked and dis- 
tressing dream of the death of some friend or other, then, since people who 
are somebody's friends are perpetually dying, the coincidence of such a 
dream with the real event might be expected to occur by pure accident in 
a large number of cases. But if onl^^ a small minority of us could recall 
ever ha^dng had such a dream at all, the case would be reversed. The 
object, then, is to ascertain from a number of people, large enough and 
promiscuous enough to be accepted as a fair specimen of the whole popu- 
lation, what percentage of them have had the experience in question. 
With this view, efforts have been made, dating from the winter of 1883, 
to obtain a large number of answers to the following question : — - 

Since January 1st, 1874, have you ever had a dream of the death of some 
person known to you, which dream you marked as an exceptionally vivid one, 


and of which the distressing impression lasted for as long as an hour after you 
rose in the morning ? 

This question has been put to 5360 persons, as to whom it was not 
known beforehand whether their answer would be " Yes " or " No." Of 
these persons, 173 answered " Yes." Excluding 7 of these cases, in which 
the dreamer was at the time in a state of distinct anxiety as to the person 
whose death was dreamt of, we have a remainder of 166. These include 
a good many cases where it proved, on further inquiry, that the terms of 
the question had not been exactly met, as the impression had not endured 
in any vivid or distressing way. They also include 3 cases where the mind 
of the dreamer had been exceptionally directed to the person dreamt of ; 
and 3 cases where the person dreamt of was in the same room as the 
dreamer, which may have had some tendency to produce the dream — 
one gentleman expressly stating his suspicion that his dream was caused 
by some sound made by his companion. We may, therefore, accept the 
166 as a liberal estimate. But 18 of these persons professed to have had 
a dream of the sort inquired about more than once. It will be again a 
liberal estimate if we suppose each of these to have experienced 3 distinct 
examples within the specified time ; and the most convenient way of 
taking account of these repetitions will be to add 36 to the 166, making 
202. With this substitution, -^^ of the whole number of persons asked may 
be taken to have given an affirmative answer. ^ Now, the persons asked 
were a quite promiscuous body, and a body large enough to be safely re- 
garded as a fair average sample of the population ; just as a similar 
number of persons, taken at random, would be accepted as a fair sample 
for purposes of statistics on short sight, or colour-blindness. We may 
conclude, then, that the number of persons who can recall having had — 
during the twelve years 1 874-1 885, and without special assignable cause 
— the experience named in the question, amount to about i in 26 of the 
population of this country. 

The question next occurs, ought we, in making our calculation, to 
assign any limit to the area of acquaintances from whom the person 
dreamt of may be drawn, and of whom a certain proportion will, in the 
natural course of things, die within a period of 12 years ? On general 
grounds it may fairly be argued that the slightness of connection between 
two persons would diminish the chance that one would dream accidentally , 
no less than the chance that he would dream telepathically, of the death of 
the other*' ; and that therefore a vivid dream of the death of a stranger, 

^ Some further returns, received since this page was printed, have unaltered the 
proportion stated. 

^ It is not always easy to find out, from a brief description, the strength of the 
bond that has existed between two persons. But I think I am safe in saying that the 
dreams of death in which the person dreamt of is not linked to the dreamer by a 
rather close tie of kinship or affection, do not amount to 10 per cent, of the whole 
number. In other respects the dreams do not seem to follow any line of d priori 
likelihood — e.g. , they concern the death of young persons quite as much as of old ones. 

I may point out that a different estimate would have to be made for dreams 
dreamt by several dreamers about the same person : e.g., an accidental coincidence 
of dream and death is less improbable than usual where the person dreamt of is a 
prominent public character, because he is (so to speak) within the dream-horizon of 
an immense number of people. But the proviso has no practical importance, as no 
cases of the kind occur in my statistics. 


or of a slight acquaintance, when it coincides with the death, tells neither 
more or less in favour of the action of something beyond chance than a 
similarly vivid and coincident dream of the death of a near relative. It 
will be seen, moreover, that, as far as the numerical estimate goes, it is 
unimportant how large or how small we take the area to be ; because 
whatever number of persons v/e include, on the average the same propor- 
tion of the number will die within any given time. Thus assuming this 
proportion who die to be one-fourth of the whole number, then, if we took 
a very large circle of acquaintances, say 400 — the death of any of whom, 
if dreamt of when it occurred, would count as one of our coincidences — 
we should have to reckon that 100 of them actually die in the course 
of the time ; and if we took a very small circle of just the immediate rela- 
tives of the dreamer, say 4, we should have to reckon that i of them dies 
in the course of the time. And the chance of an accidental coincidence in 
the specified period between the single dream of death and the death itself 
is practically the same in both these cases. For though there will be, on the 
one hand, much less chance of its being the right individual that is dreamt 
of when the choice is among 400 than when it is among 4, on the other 
hand the 100 deaths will give 100 (or nearly 100) nights on which the 
coincident dream will have its chance of being dreamt, instead of only i 
night. Logically, therefore, there is no necessity for limiting the area in 
question. Let the number of any one's acquaintance be called x. Then, 
whether x be large or small, all that concerns us is the proportion of the 
X persons who die within the specified period of 12 years ; and this pro- 
portion, since the death-rate per year is about .022, may be taken as .264, 
or a little more than one-fourth. 

The estimate from the above data is as follows. The probability that 
a person, taken at random, will have a vivid dream of death in the course 
of 12 years is -JL ; the probability that any assigned member of the general 
population, and therefore that any particular dreamt-of person, will die 
within 12 hours of an assigned point of time is -j^^q x ^1^ ; hence the 
probability that, in the course of 12 years, a vivid dream of death, dreamt 
by any previously specified individual, and the death of the person dreamt 
of will fall within 12 hours of one another is -i- x y^^- x 3-^-5-= T-jTH-irTJ- 
(If X, the number of the dreamer's circle of friends, be taken into account, 
we then have,- as the probability that any one of the dreamer's circle 
should die within the particular 24 hours defined by the dream, x x -^^ x. 
^2^.g. X ^.1^ ; and as the probability that, if some one of the dreamer's 
circle dies within the particular 24 hours, it should be the particular one 
dreamt of, \ ; whence the probability of this double event =\ x. x x -^^ ^ 
xtto ^ ui-g-' ^■^■' ^^^ result is unaltered.) That is to say, each group 
of 431,363 persons in the population of the United Kingdom will on an 
average, if chance alone rules, produce one such coincidence in the given 
time. Now let it be supposed for a moment that our appeal for evidence 
has effectively reached as large a section of the population as this : let 
it be supposed, that is to say, that the number of persons from whom we 
should, directly or indirectly, have received examples of such coincidences, 
if they had had them to communicate, amount to 431,363. In that case, 
then, the number of such coincidences which we ought, by the doctrine of 
chances, to have encountered is i. The number which we have actually 


encountered, of vivid dreams of death, narrated to ns at first-hand,* 
dreamt since January ist, 1874, by persons free from, anxiety, and falling 
within 12 hours of the death of the person dreamt of= — is 24 : that is, 
a number 24 times larger than the doctrine of chances would have allowed 
us to expect.^ And this number is very much below what we are justified 
in assuming. For while my colleagues and I are probably disposed rather 
to overrate than to underrate the extent to which the world is acquainted 
with our proceedings, we cannot suppose that the actual number of per- 
sons from whose collective experiences our examples are drawn really 
approaches half a million, as above supposed. Moreover, 7 of the 24 
coincidences are represented as having been extremely close ; in 3 other 
cases the interval was at any rate not more than 4 hours, and in another 
was from 3 to 6 hours ; while in 9 more, where death and dream are 
merely stated to have fallen on the same night, the coincidence may have 
been exact, and is not likely to have been inexact to the extent of any- 
thing like 12 hours. Again, dreams are excluded where the actual fact 
of death was not in some way presented, even though the dying person 
was dreamt of in a remarkable way.* But most markedly have I under- 
stated the case in this respect, that I have introduced nothing but the bare 
fact of death, and have neglected the points of detail which in some instances 
add indefinitely to the difficulty of regarding the coincidence as a chance. 

The above is a tolerably clear computation ; and its validity could 
only be rebutted in two ways — (i) by impugning, on evidential grounds, 
the cases of coincidence that are alleged ; (2) by impugning the approxi- 
mate accuracy of the initial datum — that within the last 1 2 years not more 
than I person in 26 has, without clear cause, had a markedly distressing 
and haunting dream of the death of an acquaintance. 

^ In three cases the evidence, though not actually from the dreamer, is of the sort 
described on p. 119, as on a i^ar with first-hand. 

^ With 5 possible exceptions, where the 12 hours' limit may not have been nearly 
reached, but where it may have been exceeded. In 2 of these eases, the death took 
place in the afternoon and the dream followed the same night ; in the 3 others, the 
death was either on the night of the dream or on a day contiguous to that night 
but its hour is not known. Two dreams are excluded which are known to have 
followed the death by a very little more than 12 hours, the death not having been 
heard of in the interval. 

^ Of the 24 included dreams, 10 were of the deaths of near relatives ; and 4 or 5 
concerned persons who were outside the circle of intimate acquaintance. 

* I would draw special attention to this point. For when we come to deal with 
the vjaking cases, where a phantasm of a person is seen or heard at the time of his 
death, they may seem to present a marked diiference from the dreams that will bo 
quoted as having couicided with death, — these last being distinctly dreams 0/ death, 
whereas it is only in a minority of the wakuig cases that any idea of death was con- 
veyed. The waking percipient may have surmised the death, from the fact that he 
had seen or heard the phantasm ; but the phantasm itself, more often than not, 
was simply the natural-looking appearance or natural-sounding voice of the " agent." 
We must remember, then, that for aught we know, telepathically caused dreams of 
just this type may occur ; but unless they present specially remarkable features 
(as in case 23, p. 142 above) we should not cite them as having even a primd facie 
claim to be considered telepathic, just because of the immense scope for chance- 
coincidence that dreams afford. We demand more of a dream — that it shall suggest 
the right event, and not merely the right person — before we think it worth considering ; 
and the dreams to be quoted correspond with the rarer type of waking cases, where 
the pho^ntasmal representation has in some way distiuoti3' suggested death. 


The evidential value of the alleged coincidences will be better esti- 
mated when we consider some of the actual specimens. But as regards 
the initial datum, on which the calculation depends, there are objections 
the force of which must be at once admitted. Dreams in general, it may 
be said, fade away from our memory because there is nothing to stamp 
them there ; but if it happens that some real event recalls a recent dream, 
then, by the principle of association, this dream will obtain a more perma- 
nent lodgment in our mind. Now the death of relatives or friends is the 
sort of real event which it is practically certain that we shall hear of very 
soon after it occurs. A dream of such an occurrence is therefore practi- 
cally certain to get stamped in the way described, if it has been at all 
synchronous with the fact. And it is thus allowable to suppose that a 
large number of such dreams may occur which lapse unnoted from the 
mind, but any one of which, had news of the real event been received 
immediately afterwards, would have been recalled and associated with 
it, and would have then added a case to the list of " remarkable coinci- 

This argument is to a considerable degree met by the terms of the 
question. What is asked is not merely whether people have had a dream 
of death ; but whether they have had one which has haunted them for 
at least an hour after rising in the morning ; and it will not be maintained 
that an experience of that sort is so likely to vanish utterly from the 
memory as an ordinary dream. But it might, no doubt, be rejoined that 
perhaps a good many of the coincident dreams were not marked at the 
time by any special vividness or impressiveness ; and that the dreamer 
came to imagine this peculiarity of character in his dream, after it had 
come to assume importance in his eyes from the discovery that it had 
coincided with the reality. And I most fully recognise that when the 
argument begins to turn on such a point as the degree of vividness which 
a dreamer, looking back to a dream through the medium of subsequent 
impressions, can swear that it possessed, anything like positive proof 
becomes impossible. A dream so looked back to may get charged with 
an emotional character, just as we saw above that it might get filled in 
with a precision of detail, which it did not really possess. But I must 
here draw special attention to the safeguards already mentioned. Our 
collection includes a remarkably high proportion of cases where the coinci- 
dent dream was marked as exceptional in character — at the time, and 
before the real event was known — by being immediately narrated as such 
to someone else (who, if accessible, has of course been questioned as to his 
memory of the fact) ; or by being noted in writing ; or by being in some 
way acted on. [Figures are here given which I omit, as I have omitted 
many dream cases. — Ed.] And I must further point out that, in order to 
explain away the result of the above computation in the way suggested, 
it would have to be assumed not only that a great many dreams of death 
pass unnoted and leave no impression, while still of such a nature that a 
vivid impression of them would revive if news corresponding to them were 
subsequently heard ; it would have to be assumed that such an experi- 
ence befalls very nearly every adult in the country at least once within the 
12 years. For our conclusion was that coincident dreams of death in this 
country were 24 times as numerous as the law of chances — according to 



the datum which the census gave us — would allow. Therefore to make 
the law of chances applicable as an explanation, we must multiply our 
initial datum by 24 ; that is, instead of assuming i person out of every 
26 to have had the required dream, we must assume 24 out of every 26 — 
that is nearly every one — to have had it ; nay, on the raore probable 
estimate of our area of inquiry (p. 213), we must assume that on the 
average every one has had it as many as four times within the given 
period ; though 96 per cent, of them forget all about it.^ A good many 
of my readers, will, I think, altogether repudiate such a supposition in their 
own case. I believe, indeed, that a perfectly impartial census would 
•have given a decidedly smaller proportion than i in 26. For it is practi- 
cally impossible to carry out a census of the sort required without getting 
an unfair proportion of Yeses. Persons who have only No to say in answer 
to such a question as was propounded, are apt to think that there is no 
good in saying it ; and if they receive a printed form, instead of writing 
their answer on it and returning it, they are apt to consign it to the waste- 
paper basket — probably often with a vague notion that what was wanted 
was a Yes, and that sensible people, who do not have exceptional ex- 
periences, ought not to encourage the superstitions of those who do-^ 

§ 5. As pointed out above, it is only where the coincident dream ex- 
hibits some sort of unique event, such as death, that we can obtain the 
statistical basis necessary for an arithmetical estimate of chances. A very 
few remarks, however, seem worth making on dreams which offer less hope 
of a definite conclusion. 

Certain other marked events, such as unexpected dangers and acci 
dents, are comparable to death, though standing much below it, in the 
two main points — the comparative infrequency of their forming the 
subject of a markedly distressing dream, and the comparatively large 
proportion (though absolutely, of course, a very small proportion) of 
cases in which such a dream, when it does occur, coincides with reality. 
And even when we come down to unusual events of a more commonplace 
type, or to a detailed nexus of more or less familiar incidents — where it 
is, of course, out of the question to get any sort of numerical basis for 
computation — the same sort of argument may still be cautiously applied. 
It is true that the coincidences do not now occur among any compara- 
tively small group of dreamers, such as the dreamers of death — the order 
of dream which is now in question being common to all who dream at all ; 
but they still occur among a comparatively small group of dreams. In the 
cases which form a considerable proportion of our collection, where the 
dream was at once narrated as an exceptionally odd or vivid one, the proof 
of its exceptional oddness or vividness is at once supplied. And further, 
an immensely large class, the purely fantastic dreams, to which no real 

^ If it be objected that such an extreme assumption would not be required, as 
persons who have the dream may have it repeatedly, I can reply that hardly any of 
the persons from whom we have received accounts of " coincidental " dreams of 
death recall having dreamt of death except on that one occasion ; and it would be 
even odder that many of them should have completely forgotten a number of such 
vivid experiences than that they should have completely forgotten one. 

* A further account of the census of which the above inquiry formed part will be 
found in Chap. xiii. 


event could possibly be recognised as corresponding, are excluded ; as 
also are the commonest class of all where the dreamer is not the spectator 
but the hero of the dream, and no unusual incident or precise series of 
incidents is presented as occurring independently to others- — ^who, if 
present, merely make a necessary background, or take their share of 
speech and action in conjunction with the dreamer. The distant event, 
or series of events, with which the dream corresponds, must both be 
possible (for it actually occurs), and must centre round some one other 
than the dreamer ; and the consequent necessity that the marked point 
or points of the dream shall both be possible and shall centre round some 
one other than the dreamer, immensely reduces the list of dreams which 
come into the reckoning ; and to the same extent reduces the primd facie 
plausibility of the hypothesis that the coincidence is due to chance. No 
doubt, after all deductions, the number of dreams which remain to be 
taken into account, before we can decide as to the chances of accidental 
coincidences with reality, is here many times larger than our former re- 
stricted class, which was concerned with a single unique event : it may 
co.aceivably be many thousands of times larger. But, whatever the 
multiple, it is nard to believe that the number of events — even of more 
or less curious events — which it is possible to dream of as occurring to other 
people, does not bear an even larger ratio to the single event of death. 
For what limit can we so much as conceive to the sum of the details of 
circumstance which the whole dreaming population of the country can 
connect in imagination with the various members of their respective 
acquaintance ? 

Such considerations do not, of course, amount to an argument for 
telepathic correspondences on this wider ground — the data are far too 
indefinite for that. But they at least suggest that the adequacy of the 
chance-theory is not quite so obvious as is sometimes assumed. 

This preliminary sketch of the evidential aspect of dreams may, per- 
haps, prevent misunderstanding. Among considerations so complex and 
data so uncertain, it is not easy to sum up a view' in very precise terms ; 
but our general position has been made sufficiently clear by my statement 
that' we should not, with our present evidence, have undertaken to make 
out a case for telepathy on the ground of dreams alone. The question 
whether a case could be completely made out on that ground, though it 
may be worth debating, seems incapable of final settlement, until a very 
large section of the population takes to keeping a daily record of their 
dream-experiences. A much larger number" of examples is needed for 
which, even taken in isolation, a high evidential rank could be claimed — 
whether from the amount of detail in the coincidence, as in cases 134 and 
138, or from some such exceptional features as marked Mr. Wing- 
field's case (p. 142). But meanwhile an argument of a quite different sort 
can be imported from the department of evidence on which we mainly 
rely — the evidence of telepathic impressions of distant events received in 
the waking state. The probabilities of some real causal connection be- 
tween event and impression in the less conclusive cases cannot be fairly 
weighed without regard to the existence of the more conclusive ; and 
that dreams form, on the whole, the less evidentially conclusive class can 
be no ground for tabooing them, unless we can assign special reasons why 


sleep should be a condition adverse to telepathic influence. In the con- 
ception of telepathy which it is hoped that the reader will by degrees 
come to share, no such reasons appear ; while the resemblances and the 
transition-cases, already referred to, between the sleeping and the waking 
phenomena, make it practically impossible to reject in the one class an 
explanation which we admit in the other. The examples which I shall 
proceed to give require no further justification. They are not needed to 
prove our theory ; but many of them almost inevitably fall under it as 
soon as it is proved ; and we have no right to disregard any light which 
they may throw on it. 


§ I. On surveying a large number of cases where a dream has corre- 
sponded in time with the real occurrence of the event or events which it 
represented, in such a way as strongly to suggest that it had its source in 
a telepathic impulse, we find that they at once fall into distinct classes. 
In the first class, the agent is in a normal state, or is himself also dreaming : 
the external event here is simply the occurrence to the agent of a particular 
thought or dream ; and the percipient's impression is concerned simply 
with the content of that thought or dream, not with the agent himself. 
In all other classes the agent is in some condition or situation which is 
more or less abnormal ; and the percipient has an impression of the agent 
as in this situation, but an impression which may take various forms. Not 
infrequently the central fact is dreamt of merely as a fact — as something 
the dreamer hears of, or becomes aware of, as having occurred, without 
himself in any way coming into contact with it. In another class of cases, 
he perceives the principal actor in the matter dreamt of — the dying 
person, if death is the occasion — in such a manner as to suggest the actual 
catastrophe ; this suggestion being often connected with some special 
imagery or symbolism. And in yet another class, he seems himself trans- 
ported into the actual scene — to be an actual spectator of the event. 

I will begin then with some specimens of the first class, where the 
dream has close relation to something that is in the agent's mind, but 
the agent's own personality does not specially figure in it. 1 These are, of 
course, the cases which come nearest to experimental thought-transfer- 
ence ; and an additional point of resemblance is that they are especially 
apt to occur when the agent and percipient are in tolerably close proximity. 
One marked group of these cases is the simultaneous occurrence 
of the same dream to two persons. Such an occurrence would not be 

1 We must insist on the fulfilment of at least one of two conditions : either the 
thought, or the personality, of the agent must be distinctly represented in the dream. 
This is, of course, a mere evidential rule ; but, owing to the immense scope for 
accidental couacidences that dreams afford, it must be strictly applied. For example, 
Mrs. Sidney Smith, of 7, The Terrace, Barnes, tells us of an extraordinary and in- 
describable horror which she experienced in sleep, on the night of a brother's very 
tragic death ; but as she did not connect the impression with her brother till she 
heard that he was missing, the case cannot be even provisionally admitted. 


likely to be heard of except when the two dreamers were nearly related 
or were living in the same house ; indeed, unless the correspondence were 
extraordinarily close and detailed, it is only the fact of the dreamers 
belonging to a narrowly restricted circle that could justify one in attach- 
ing the slightest importance to it. In a wider circle, coincidences of the 
sort might obviously happen, and perhaps often do happen, by pure 
accident. But relationship or habitual propinquity involves, of course, 
the chance that some item of joint waking experience has been the inde- 
pendent source of both dreams ; and no case would be admissible where 
any recent cause of this sort could be traced. [No. 88 is omitted.] 

The following case is from the Rev. J. Page Hopps, of Lea Hurst, 

" September 15th, 1884. 

(89) " Last week I dreamt of a ' dead ' friend, and of this friend doing 
an exceedingly strange thing. It impressed me very much, but I said not 
a word concerning it to any one. Next morning, at breakfast, my wife 
hastened to tell me that she had dreamt a singular dream (a very unusual 
thing for her to say anything about), and then she staggered me by 
telling me what she had dreamt. It was the very thing that I had dreamed. 
We slept in different rooms, she having to attend to a sick child, and I 
not being very well. I do not care to tell you the dream ; but the special 
action in both dreams was something extremely curious and monstrously 
improbable. My wife ended her description by saying, ' Then she tried 
to say something, but I could not make it out.' I heard and remembered 
what was said, and that was the only difference in our dreams. "We had 
not been in any way talking about our ' dead ' friend. 

" J. Page Hopps. 
" Mary Hopps." 
In answer to inquiries, Mr. Hopps says : — 

" I would rather not go into details, especially in writing, though I 
think Mr. Gurney is right in wishing for them. Some day I may give 
them, but what I told him in my first letter is literally true. The dream 
was an intensely improbable one. One curious thing about it was that, 
while looking at the appearance, I knew perfectly well I was lying in the 
particular bed I was in, and on the left-hand side, with my head towards 
the door. When I awoke, I was in precisely that position." 

Mrs. Fielding, of Yarlington Rectory, near Bath, writes : — 

" November, 1885. 

(90) " The other night my husband and I dreamt at the same hour, 
the same dream — a subject which neither of us had been thinking of 
for months. It was a dream of wandering about our first home, and in it 
looking at the same spot. 

" Jane E. Fielding." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Fielding adds : — 

" I do not remember anything more about the dream I spoke of. It 
was 17 years since we left Linacre Court, near Dover, the place my 
husband and I dreamt of at the same hour. We both dreamt of walking 
about the old place — and the old woodman — just before we awoke ; and 
we had not been either of us thinking of it in the least. 

" My husband laughs at all such things as having any import, but to 
please me wrote the enclosed." 


The enclosure was : — 

" I remember awaking one morning about three weeks ago, and my 
wife telling me she had had a long dream about our first married home. I 
said, 'How strange, as I have been dreaming the same just before I awoke.' '' 

" J. M. Fielding." 

Asked as to the detail of the woodman, Mrs. Fielding replies, " We 
both saw the woodman in our dream." 

[Compare an experience of the same agent and percipient below, No. 
700, p. 222. Nos. 91, 92, 93 are here omitted.] 

The next case is perhaps best regarded as one of simultaneous dreams, 
though the one of the two parties who would most naturally be regarded 
as the percipient feels positive that she was awake. It belongs in one 
respect to a later class, since the agent's personality and presence dis- 
tinctly figured in the percipient's experience. 

Miss Constance S. Bevan, of 74, Lancaster Gate, W., says : — 

" February i8th, 1884. 

(94) " On June loth, 1883, I had the following dream. Someone told 
me that Miss Elliott was dead. I instantly, in my dream, rushed to her 
room, entered it, went to her bedside and pulled the clothes from off her 
face. She was quite cold ; her eyes were wide open and staring at the 
ceiling. This so frightened me that I dropped at the foot of her bed, and 
knew no more until I was half out of bed in my own room and wide awake. 
The time was 5 o'clock a.m. Before leaving my room I told this dream 
to my sister, as it had been such an unpleasant one. 

" Constance S. Bevan." 

Miss Elliott says : — 

" February, 1884. 

" I awoke on the morning of June loth, and was lying on my back 
with my eyes fixed on the ceiling, when I heard the door open and felt 
some one come in and bend over me, but not far enough to come between 
my eyes and the ceiling ; knowing it was only C, I did not move, but 
instead of kissing me she suddenly drew back, and going towards the foot 
of the bed, crouched down there. Thinking this very strange, I closed 
and opened my eyes several times, to convince myself that I was really 
awake, and then turned my head to see if she had left the door open, but 
found it still shut. Upon this a sort of horror came over me, and I dared 
not look towards the figure, which was crouching in the same position, 
gently moving the bedclothes from my feet. I tried to call to the occupant 
of the next room, but my voice failed. At this moment she touched my 
bare foot, and a cold chill ran all over me and I knew nothing more till 
I found myself out of bed looking for C, who must, I felt, be still in the 
room. I never doubted that she had really been there until I saw both 
doors fastened on the inside. On looking at my watch it was a few 
minutes past 5. " E. Elliott." 

The following corroboration is from Miss C. S. Bevan's sisters : — 

" Before leaving our room, my sister Constance told all about the 
dream she had had in the early morning. " C. Elsie Bevan." 

" The first' thing in the morning. Miss Elliott told me all about her 
unpleasant dream, before speaking to anyone else. 

" An TON 1 A Bevan." 


In answer to inquiries, Miss C. S. Bevan says : — 

" This is the first experience I have ever had of the kind, and I have 
not walked in my sleep more than three times in my life ; the last time 
was about a year ago ; on no occasion have I left the room. I do not have 
startling or vivid dreams as a rule. I did not look at my watch after 
waking, but the clock struck 5 o'clock." 

In answer to inquiries. Miss Elliott says : — 

" Although I am accustomed to have very vivid dreams, I have never 
had one of this kind before. When I found my friend was not in the 
room, and that the doors were securely fastened on the inside, I looked at 
my watch ; it was a few minutes past 5 . 

" I have never, I believe, walked in my sleep. There are two doors to 
my bedroom. One was locked on the inside ; the handle was broken off 
the other on the outside. Thus it was impossible for anyone to open it 
except from the inside." 

[No one, probably, will regard this as an accidental coincidence ; but 
the hypothesis of sleep-walking had to be carefully considered. I have 
seen the rooms, and examined the door of which the handle is described 
as having been broken off. Miss Bevan had been (as was often the case) 
in Miss Elliott's room over-night, and on her shutting the door at her 
departure, the outside handle fell off. She remembers its doing so ; and 
Miss Elliott heard it fall, and saw it on the floor outside when she left her 
room in the morning. Miss Elliott says that it remained unscrewed, and 
so liable to be shaken off every time the door closed, for about two months 
that summer. I unscrewed it, and tried to move the latch by turning the 
stump, but found it utterly impossible ; and to fit the handle on again 
without pushing the stump inwards, and so losing all chance of opening 
the door, was a work of very considerable care. But even on the violent 
supposition that Miss Bevan left her room noiselessly in her sleep, picked 
up the handle, deftly adjusted it, turned it, and entered — there remains an 
additional difficulty. For, in departing, she must have shut the door after 
her in such a way as to jerk the handle off again. This would make a loud 
sound ; yet it was not heard by Miss Elliott, who, on the hypothesis in 
question, was awake ; nor did it wake Miss Bevan herself, nor an aunt of 
hers who was sleeping in a room with which Miss Elliott's communicated. 
It seems almost incredible that she should have shut the door carefull}'- 
after her, taken off t]\e handle, and deposited it on the floor. Both the door 
of communication between Miss Elliott's and the aunt's rooms, and the 
free door of the latter room were locked, the former on Miss Elliott's 
side. Miss Bevan has never left her room, or anything like it, on the three 
occasions on which she has walked in her sleep. Moreover, she was 
sleeping in the same room as a sister who is a very light sleeper, and 
she considers that it is absolutely impossible that she should have left 
her room without waking this sister. Her room is separated from Miss 
Elliott's by a passage and a long staircase. Miss Bevan is not a " dreamer," 
and very rarely has a dream which she thinks it worth while to mention.] 

Two points in this case deserve special notice. In the first place, what- 
ever we call Miss Elliott's experience, it was wholly unlike an ordinary 
dream ; it was in itself as unusual in character as a " spectral illusion," 
or distinct waking hallucination of vision. Evidentially, this is very im- 
portant ; for it at once renders irrelevant the theory of accidental coinci- 
dence, so far as that theory depends ou the scope for accident which the 


vast number of dreams affords. The second point is the possibility, at any 
rate, that the two experiences were not only simultaneous but reciprocal ; 
that is to say, that Miss Sevan's dream may not have been simply the 
independent source of Miss Elliott's impression, but may have itself been 
modified by that impression. 

§ 2. Passing now to examples where the supposed agent was awake, 
but in a perfectly ordinary and unexcited state, we must still, of course, 
reject cases where any normal cause for the dream can be plausibly as- 
signed. Thus Mr. F. J. Jones, of Heath Bank, Mossley Road, Ashton- 
under-Lyne, tells us how his little daughter astonished him by starting up 
from her sleep, saying, " Something has gone wrong with the ' Gogo's ' 
boilers." The " Gogo " belonged to a firm with which Mr. Jones was con- 
nected, and it was afterv/ards discovered that the boilers had at that very 
time suffered an accident in the Baj' of Biscay. The coincidence remains, 
therefore, an odd one ; but we should certainly be inclined to refer the 
child's dream to some scrap of grown-up conversation that had been for- 
gotten. Mr. E. W. P., of Barton End Grange, Nailsworth, describes how 
in a half- wakeful state he had been imagining himself to be reading " The 
Book of Days," till it seemed to become too dark to see — when all at once 
his wife said in her sleep, " You should not read in bed, it is so bad for the 
eyes." On inquiry, we find that Mrs. P. is not in the habit of talking in 
her sleep ; but we find also that Mr. P. has often read in bed, and that his 
wife has often remonstrated with him about it. The following cases seem 
free from such objections. 

Mrs. Crellin, of 62, Hilldrop Crescent, N., says : — 

" August, 1884. 
(g6) " I mentioned to you my husband's awaking from sleep and 
repeating the line from Tennyson which I had been trying to remember 
[i.e., No. 95, omitted]. That seemed to me a brain-wave, and it was im- 
mediate in its action ; but what of a deferred brain-wave ? Thus, three 
weeks ago, I was unable to sleep during the early hours of the night. I 
thought, amongst other things, of a rather comic piece of poetry which my 
husband used to repeat years ago. I stuck at one line and could not recall 
it. However, I fell asleep, and three or four hours after awoke, to find 
it was time to rise. My husband, after a good night's rest — undisturbed 
by poetry or prose — awoke also ; he stretched out his hand towards me, 
and repeated the line I had failed to remember in the night, and which did 
not occupy my thoughts when I awoke in the morning. This seemed a 
strange delay in giving the response."^ 

Mr. Crellin says : — 

" 62, Hilldrop Crescent, N. 

" August 2oth, 1884. 
" My wife has told you of an incident which I am able to confirm. I 
awoke one morning recently, and immediately said to her, ' And Iiis skin, 
like a lady's loose gown, hung about him ' — this being a line of some 
humorous verses learnt by me when a youth, and which I have occasion- 
ally recited for the amusement of my friends, but which I had not repeated 
or thought of for a long period. My wife at once said that whilst lying 

1 We need not regard it aa specially strange. See p. 144. 


awake during the night (I being asleep) she had been trying to recall this 
very line. I know of nothing that can have brought the line to my mind 
and lips at the moment. 

" Philip Crellin." 

The force of cases where a dream exactly reproduces the thoughts of 
a person in the dreamer's vicinity is so much increased by their multiplica- 
tion in the experience of the same two persons, that the following additional 
instance, from the narrators of case go, needs no apology. ]\Irs. Fielding 
writes : — 

" Yarlington Rectory, Bath, 19th May, 1886. 

(700) " I sleep badly, and on Monday night it was 2 o'clock when I 
slept. I had, for half an hour before going off, fixed my mind upon every 
turn and corner of my girlhood's home (where I have not been for above 20 
years) in Scotland. My father, a squire, had a neighbour squire, called 
Harvey Brown. In my whiling away the night, I dwelt upon him, and his 
house and family, particularly. My husband knew him only by name, 
but, of course, knew my home, and loves it as much as I do. He and I 
awoke at 6. Before a word of any kind was said, he said to me, ' I have 
had such a strange dream about Harvey Brown, and been at the old home, 
wandering about it.' What made it seem stranger is that Harvey Brown 
is a man we never spoke of in our lives, or for 20 years have ever thought 
of, till Monday night in idleness I went over old meetings with him ; and 
I was wide awake and my husband asleep ; he had slept heavily all the 
night after a 12 -mile walk ; so there was no possibility of my leading his 
mind near Scotland, in any conversation even, before he slept. 

" Jean Eleanora Fielding. 
"J. M. Fielding." 

[To this may be added, as belonging to tliis section, another case from 
the Additional Chapter, where the transferred impression emerged in a 
dream, not remembered by the dreamer, but known to have occurred 
through his talking in his sleep. — Ed.] Mrs. Lethbridge, of Tregeare, 
Launceston, Cornwall, writes : — 

" Bella Vista, Corsier, Vevey, Switzerland. 

" April loth, 1886. 

(691) " In December, i88x, my husband was slowly recovering from a 
severe illness ; and one afternoon, about 5 o'clock, I went into his study, 
where he had gone for 2 or 3 hours, to see if he wanted anything. Finding 
him asleep in his armchair, I left him, and, having some village lending- 
library books to sort, I went into the small room where they were kept, 
called the ' box-room ' (in a distant part of the house), to do so. There, 
to my surprise, I saw our gamekeeper's dog, Vic, curled up. On seeing 
me she rose, wagged her tail, turned half round and lay down again. This 
dog had never been inside the house before, which was the reason of my 
surprise at seeing her where she was. However, I turned her out of doors, 
and there I thought the matter ended. I am quite sure I did not mention 
the matter to my husband. 

" He went to bed very early that evening, and had a most restless 
night, talking a great deal in his sleep. \Vhile fast asleep he related the 
whole occurrence of ' Hawke's dog, Vic,' actually being found in the 
box-room, even describing the animal's behaviour, rising, turning half 
round and lying down again. Next morning I asked my husband if he 
had dreamt ? ' No, not that he knew of.' If he had not dreamt of Vic } 


' No, why of Vic ? ' Then I asked him if by any chance he had heard 
where Vic had been found the previous evening ? ' No. Where ? ' And 
when I told him, he was extremely astonished, just because the dog had 
never been known inside the house before, and the box-room was on an 
upper landing. Subsequently I related to him what he had said in his 
sleep, but he evidently had not the slightest recollection of it. 


In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Lethbridge adds : — 

" I am glad my account interested you, and regret extremely that it 
cannot be corroborated, for I fully understand the necessity in investi- 
gations such as yours to obtain perfectly trustworthy evidence, and free 
from intentional or unintentional exaggerations or inaccuracies. My dear 
husband died about 16 months ago. On receiving your letter I tried to 
find out whether he mentioned the occurrence in his diary, but 
unfortunately the diary of that year (1881) was left behind in England. 

" From mine, which I succeeded in finding, written at the time, I copy 
out the following brief notice, dated Dec. 14th, 1881. ' Baron talked a 
great deal in his sleep last night, and curiously enough he described how 
the terrier was found curled up on the mat in the box-room, which actually 
happened yesterday, probably for the first time in the terrier's life, for 
I was so araazed at finding the dog in so unusual a place that I called 
the children to see it. But the strange part is this, Baron was asleep in 
the study at that time, and no one had told hina of the occurrence. Of 
this I am quite sure.' 

" I mentioned the occurrence to several people at the time, but as it 
happened 5 years ago, I doubt if any of them would recall it quite accur- 

[Mr. Lethbridge's complete forgetfulness is clearly a strong indication 
that the news of the occurrence had not reached him in any normal way — 
e.g., by overhearing the children speaking of it.] 

§ 3. We come now to cases where the agent's mind was in a more or 
less disturbed state. [Case 97 omitted.] 

The evidential force of the following case is not easy to estimate, 
without knowing how frequent dreams of conflagration are ; but this 
particular dreamer, at any rate, can recall no similar experience, and has 
never in his life made a written note of a dream except on this occasion. 
Mr. D. B. W. Sladen, of 26, Campden Grove, Kensington, W., writes : — 

" January 4th, 1886. 
(98) " In December, 1881, we were living at 6, George Street (East), 
Melbourne, Victoria. My father resided then, as he does now, at Philli- 
more Lodge, Kensington, W. In those days I always went to bed about 
midnight. I awoke suddenly, tremendously startled by a dream that my 
father's house v/as on fire. The dream impressed me so vividly that I felt 
convinced that a fire had actually happened there, and, striking a light, I 
walked across the room to the dressing-table, on which my diary lay (I 
used generally to jot down the events of the day just before turning in), and 
made a brief entry of it there and then, first looking at my watch in order 
to be able to set down the time, which I found to be i a.m. I had, there- 
fore, been in bed less than an hour, which of itself seems to add an extra- 
ordinary feature to the case (I refer to my sinking to sleep, dreaming, 


and waking up, as after a long sleep, in so short a space of time) . The entry 
in my diary is, as it was likely to be when standing out of bed, very brief : 
' At night I dreamt that the kitchen in my father' s house was on fire. I awoke 
and found that it was i a.m.' I kept my diary in a plain-paper book ; 
and the entry comes below what I did up to midnight on December 22nd. 
What I further still remember distinctly of the vision is this — that in it, 
the servants' bedrooms (which are really at the top of my father's house, 
while the kitchen, &c., are at the bottom) were adjoining the kitchen 
suite, all on one floor, and that the smoke and blaze seemed general. 
Further, I remember distinctly, though I just made a bare entry in my 
diary and hurried back to bed, that two of my father's maids, named 
Coombes and Caroline respectively, were the only persons except myself 
present in the vision, and that I seemed to have no impulses and no power 
of moving, but was merely a spectator ; nor did the idea of any risk to 
myself form part of the impression. 

" Six or seven weeks afterwards (mail contract between London and 
Melbourne is 42 days) I received a letter from my father, dated December 
22nd, 1 88 1. He v/rote, ' We had a fire on Sunday evening while we 
were at church. Coombes went with a wax-taper to tidy her room, 
and, I suppose, blew it out and put it down with sparks. Very soon 
after she left, a ring at the bell that the attic was on fire put Caroline 
on her mettle, while the other lost her head. She dashed it out with 
water before the window-frame was burnt through, and subdued it. 
Fifteen pounds will repair the damage — two chests of drawers much 
burnt, wearing apparel, &c. I gave her a sovereign for her pluck, as the 
roof would have been on fire in another five minutes.' 

' ' Now I wish to draw your attention to what has attracted my atten- 
tion most. The Sunday before December 22nd, 1881, was December 
1 8th. I had the communication, therefore, in my sleep, not on the actual 
day of the fire, but on the day on which my father wrote the letter. At 
Kensington, where my father was writing, Australian letters have to be 
posted in the branch offices about 5 p.m. My dream was at i a.m. Time in 
Victoria is 9| hours ahead of English time. When I was having the com- 
munication, therefore, it was about 3.30 p.m. in Kensington. Now with 
the mail going out at 5 p.m., 3.30 would have been a very natural — I think 
I may say a most natural time for my father to be finishing a letter to me. 
[Mr. Sladen, sen., confirms this.] I, therefore, had my magnetic com- 
munication when he was at once focussing his mind on me, and focussing 
his mind on the fire, in order to tell me about it. 

" I have asked my wife, and she remembers perfectly my waking her 
up, and telling her that I had dreamt that my father's house was on fire, 
and was so convinced of its betokening an actual occurrence that I should 
make a note of it in my diary there and then. 

" Douglas B. W. Sladen." 

[Mr. Sladen has kindly allowed me to inspect the diary and letter.] 

In the next example the correspondence is of a more distinct kind. 
Mrs. Walsh, of the Priory, Lincoln, writes : — 

" February, 1884. 

(99) " The gentleman who teaches music in my house tells me that 
if anything sad or terrible happens to anyone he loves, he always has an 
intimation of it. 

" I am very fond of him, and I know he looks on me as a very true old 
friend, and one of my sons, now in India, is the dearest friend he has. 


" I went out one morning about 9 o'clock, carrying books for the 
library, and, being wevy busy, took the short way to town. On some flags 
in a very steep part of the road some boys had made a slide. Both my 
feet flew away at the same moment that the back of my head resounded 
on the flags. A policeman picked me up, saw I was hurt, and rang at the 
Nurses' Home close by, to get me looked to. My head was cut, and 
while they were washing the blood awa^^ I was worrying myself that I 
should be ill, and how should I manage my school till the end of the term. 
I told no one in my house but my daughter, and no one but the policeman 
had seen me fall. I asked my daughter to tell no one. I had a miserable 
nervous feeling, but I pretended to her it was nothing. The next morning 
after a sleef)less night, I could not get up. It was my habit to sit in the 
drawing-room while the music lessons were given, so my daughter went in 

to tell Mr. that I had had a bad night, and was not yet up. He 

said, ' I had a wretched night, too, and all through a most vivid dream.' 
' What was it ? ' she asked. ' I dreamed I was walking by the Nurses' 
Home, and I came on a slide, both my feet slipped, and I fell on the back of 
my head. I was helped to the Home, and while my head was being bathed 
I was worrying myself how I should manage my lessons till the end of the 
term, and the worrying feeling would not go.' " 

The percipient, Mr, T. J. Hoare, writes : — 

" 12, St. Nicholas Square, Lincoln. 

" March 3rd, 1884. 

" I shall be very pleased to relate the account of a dream, as described 
by Mrs. Walsh most accurate^, which took place on a Tuesday evening 
early in November, 1882. The dream consisted of this : I supposed I 
was going down the Greystone Stairs, when I had a fall at the first flight, 
was picked up, and helped by a policeman to the Nurses' Institute, about 
20 yards from the imaginary fall, being there attended by a nurse. I was 
much perplexed as to how I should manage to finish my work during the 
term. This was followed the next morning b}^ a severe headache in the 
region of the imaginary blow. 

" On seeing Miss Walsh the following morning, I was told by her that 
Mrs. Walsh was unwell, but not the cause. I replied I too felt unwell 
and accounted for it through the dream. Mrs. Walsh related to me the 
same evening her own adventure, which in every detail exactly coincided 
with my dream as happening to myself. I in no way knew of Mrs. Walsh's 
mishap till the evening after, when told by herself. 

" In another instance, whilst staying in Devonshire, I received an 
impression, or felt a conviction, that something had happened to Mrs. 
Walsh. I think I wanted to write, so confident was I of something 
having taken place, but desisted because I had left Lincoln through an 
outbreak of small-pox in the house next my rooms, only the previous 
week, so was unwilling to correspond. On my return here, I found out 
that both my day \i.e., the day of the impression] and the accident — a 
fall — were true. 

" In many other instances have I received similar experiences, and so 
confident have I been always of their accuracy that I have written to the 
persons and places, and always received confirmation of my impressions. 
I have had, I think, 10 or 12 impressions. They are quite unlike fits of 
low spirits and indigestion, and I can easily distinguish them from such, 
as in every case I have been most conscious of outside action. 

" T. J. Hoare." 

In conversation Mr. Hoare stated that he undoubtedly had a positive 


pain at the back of his head, as if from a blow, on the day following this 

[Cases loo and loi here omitted.] 

§ 4. We come now to the larger family of cases, in which the agent's 
personality, and not merely his particular thought, is reflected, and the 
dream conveys a true impression of his state, or of some event connected 
with him. I will first give a few examples where the fact which is a reality 
is presented or suggested without the agent's visible appearance in the 
dream, and without any distinct sense on the percipient's part of being 
present at the scene. 

[Cases 102 and 103 are here omitted.] 

The next case, in its absurdity and precision, is a great contrast to the 
last [a death case]. We received it from the Rev. A. B. McDougall, now 
of Hemel Hempsted, and at that time a scholar of Lincoln College, Oxford. 

" November, 1882. 
(104) " On the night of January loth, 1882, 1 was sleeping in one of the 
suburbs of Manchester in the house of a friend, into which house several 
rats had been driven by the excessive cold. I knew nothing about these 
rats, but during the night I was waked by feeling an unpleasantly cold 
something slithering down my right leg. I immediately struck a light and 
flung off the bed-clothes, and saw a rat run out of my bed under the fire- 
place. I told my friend the next morning, but he tried to persuade me I 
had been dreaming. However, a few days afterwards* a rat was caught in 
my room. On the morning of January nth, a cousin of mine [Miss E. J. 
M. McDougall, since married], who happened to be staying in my own 
home on the south coast, and to be occupying my room, came down to 
breakfast, and recounted a marvellous dream, in which a rat appeared to 
be eating off the extremities of my unfortunate self. My family laughed 
the matter off. However, on the 13th, a letter was received from me 
giving an account of my unpleasant meeting with the rat and its subsequent 
capture. Then everyone present remembered the dream my cousin had 
told certainly 58 hours before, as having occurred on the night of January 
loth. My mother wrote me an account of the dream, ending up with the 
remark, ' We always said E. was a witch : she always knew about every- 
thing almost before it took place.' " a. B. McDougall." 

Here the point, of course, is that an exceedingly improbable incident 
is associated in the dream with the right person. It is worth noting that 
we have no exact parallel to such an incident as this among our waking 
cases. Thus, if the dream was telepathic, its very triviality may illustrate 
in a new way the favourable effect of sleep on the percipient faculty. 

Dreams happening at times when the person dreamt of is known to be 
in peril are, as a rule, inadmissible as evidence. Thus we have a case where 
the mother of a lieutenant in the army dreamt, on the night of the storm- 
ing of the Redan, that her son was wounded in the left arm. The subse- 
quent newspaper account described him as having been severely injured 

^ There is a slight apparent discrepancy between these words and the date of the 
letter in which the capture is afterwards said to have been mentioned. The letters 
are destroyed ; and Mr. McDougall rightly prefers to leave the words as they stand. 
They, of course, in no way affect the central incident. 


in the righi arm ; but his mother persisted in her view that the dream 
was correct, and it proved to have been so. But a dream concerning a 
wound is a very likely one for a mother to have under the circumstances ; 
and the detail is quite insufficient. In the class we must include mothers' 
dreams of accidents to children, even apart from any special grounds of 
anxiety — the form of dream being not uncommon, and real accidents (if 
we include trivial ones) being frequent enough to make it certain that 
striking coincidences will every now and then occur by chance. Thus 
the wife of a rector in the West of England tells us how she once dreamt 
that one of her little girls, who was on a visit, had fallen down in the street 
and cut her forehead over the left eye, and how the morning's post brought 
the news of that precise accident. The rector (who is sceptical on these 
matters) testifies to the fact that his wife mentioned to him her dream 
" that the child had fallen down and cut her forehead " ; and also to the 
fact that " the next post brought the news." He says nothing about the 
street or the left eye — details which may have been read back into the 
dream afterwards. But in any case the accident is of a common type ; 
the amount of correct detail is small ; and moreover it came out in con- 
versation with the lad}^ that she dreams a good deal, and pays attention to 
her dreams. However completely telepathy were established, it might 
still be doubted whether such a coincidence as this ought to be referred 
to it. 

As an interesting contrast, I may quote the following case, which is 
from Mrs. Hobbs (wife of the Rev. W. A. Hobbs, formerly a missionary 
at Beerbhoom, Bengal), now resident at Tenbury, in Worcestershire. The 
narrative was first written out for a friend, probably in 1877. 

(105) " During our residence in India as missionaries, our children 
remained at home, either residing with my sister or at school, and about 
the year 1864 or 1865 our eldest boy was at school at Shireland Hall near 
to Birmingham. The principal was the Rev. T. H. Morgan, now Baptist 
minister at Harrow-on-the-Hill. 

" One night, during the summer of one of the years I have mentioned, 
I was awakened from m}' sleep by my husband asking, ' What is the 
matter, J. ? Why are you weeping so ? I could let you sleep no longer, 
you were crying so much.' I replied that I was dreaming, but could not 
tell the dream for some minutes. It had seemed so like a reality that I 
was still weeping bitterly. 

" I dreamed that the sister (who acted as guardian to our boys in 
our absence) was reading to me a letter giving a detailed account of 
how our Harry died of choking, while eating his dinner one day at school. 

" When sufficiently composed I again went to sleep ; but when I awoke 
in the morning, the effect of my dream was still upon me. My husband 
tried to rally me, saying, ' It is only a dream, think no more about it.' 
But my heart was sad, and I could not shake it off. 

" In the course of the day I called on a friend, the only other European 
lady in the station. I told her why I felt troubled, and she advised me 
to make a note of the date, and then I should know how to understand 
my dream when a letter of that date came to hand. Our letters at that 
time came to us via Southampton, and nearly six weeks must elapse 
before I could hear if anything had transpired on that particular date, 
even if a letter could have been dispatched at once ; but it might not have 
been tJae ' mail day/ and that would give some additional days for me to 


wait. They were weary weeks, but at length the looked-for letter arrived, 
and it contained no reference to what I had anticipated. I felt truly 
ashamed that I had permitted a dream to influence me, and thought no 
more about it. 

" A fortnight later another letter from my sister came in, bearing an 
apology for not having told me in her last what a narrow escape from death 
our Harry had experienced, and then went on to detail what I had dreamed, 
with an additional piece of intelligence that just as his head had dropped 
on the person supporting him, and he was supposed to be dead, the piece 
of meat passed down his throat, and he shortly after revived, and was 
quite well at the time of her writing. 

" That boy is now a minister of the Gospel, and about a year ago I was 
talking with him about my strange dream, when a friend who was present 
said to him, ' Do you remember what you thought about when you were 
choking ? ' He replied, ' Yes, I distinctly remember thinking, I wonder 
what my mother will do when she hears I am dead.' " 

In answer to our inquiries, Mrs. Hobbs says : — 

" July 24th, 1884. 

" I have not had any other dream of a like kind. I am not able to 
say how near in time the dream was to the event ; but that it was very 
near to the event is clear from the fact that I reckoned up the earliest 
time when I could get any information from England, supposing that the 
dream really pointed to anything ; and though no news came to the time 
expected, yet the next letter that came apologised for not having men- 
tioned it in the former letter. So that the space between the event and 
the dream would be, at most, the space between the dream and the next 
mail leaving England for India." 

Mr. Hobbs says : — 

" So far as I am concerned in the above account, written by my wife, 
Jane Ann Hobbs, I declare it to be quite correct. 

" William Ayers Hobbs." 

The following account is from the son, who is a Baptist minister at 

" July 29th, 1884. 

" I remember that I had a sharp, short struggle for breath, accompanied 
by a bursting sensation in the head and singing in the ears ; then I rolled 
over ; the pain in the head was succeeded by a drowsy, dreamy feeling ; a 
-mist gathered before my eyes, and I was just on the point of losing 
consciousness, when the persistent thumps, which were being administered 
to my back by the anxious spectators, jerked the beef out of my throat, 
and I revived. I had no direct thought of my mother, as I imagine, for 
this reason : I was left in the care of an aunt, when my parents went to 
India ; and as the whole of my training since I was four years old had 
been undertaken by this aunt, prior to my going to Birmingham, it was to 
her that my thoughts reverted when I was choking ; and I distinctly 
remember that the thought flashed through my mind, ' How ever will 
Aunt Maria write to India about this.' I quite believed I was dying. 

" H. V. Hobbs." 

[In conversation, Mr. Podmore ascertained that the family are in no 
way given to real or supposed " psychical " experiences.] 

Here the unusualness of the accident, and the uniqueness and emo- 
tioneJ vividness of the dream may, we think, be safely accepted. The 


slight amount of discrepancy between the final sentences of the mother's 
and the son's account can hardly be held to affect the general trust- 
worthiness of Mrs. Hobbs' narrative ; and it will be noticed that the 
agent's account of his own thoughts harmonises specially well with the 
actual nature of the percipient's impression, which was that the news 
was conveyed to her by her sister — the very person on whom her son 
imagined that sad duty as devolving. 

[No. 106, another dream of an accident to a son, is here omitted.] 

Perils by sea are another very common subject of dreams ; and where 
a large number of people are living a life of more than average risk, and 
a large number of relatives on land are living under a more or less 
constant sense of this risk, accidental coincidences between dreams and 
casualties are, of course, certain to occur. Especially will this be the case 
where the relatives live by the seaside, and where the very storm that 
destroys life on one element may disturb slumber on the other. We have 
quite a little collection of cases where wives or mothers of seafaring men 
have dreamt of fatal accidents which then proved to have actually 
occurred. Such incidents have not usually any claim to be considered as 
even prima facie evidence for telepathy. Every now and then, however, 
" sea-dreams " present an amount of correct detail that prevents us from 
rejecting them. [Such a case, No. 107, is here omitted.] 

[The following case from the Additional Chapter belongs to this section 
in that the dream seems to have occurred within 1 2 hours of the fatal ter- 
mination of the serious illness dreamt of ; but the chief interest of the case 
is the appearance of a visual phantasm of the agent to the percipient on 
the following evening, but still prior to his having any knowledge of the 
facts. 1 — Ed.] 

The account was obtained through the kindness of Mrs. Walwyn, of 9, 
Sion Hill, Clifton, Bristol, who has known the narrator from a boy. 

" February 24th, 1886. 

(701) " ' I dreamed that Maggie, my sister-in-law, had been taken 
seriously ill. The next evening, when I went into the dining-room to have 
my usual smoke previous to going to bed, just after I entered the room, 
Maggie suddenly appeared, dressed in white, with a most heavenly 
expression on her face. She fixed her eyes on me, walked round the 
room, and disappeared through the door which leads into the garden. I 
felt I could not speak ; but followed her. On opening the door and 
outside shutter nothing was to be seen. I vouch for the truth of this. 

" ' H. E. M.' " 

Mr. M.'s mother writes to Mrs. Walwyn : — 

" H. and his wife were in England in the autumn, and returned on the 
9th November. They had been visiting the parents in L. — General and 
Mrs. R. They left the next younger sister apparently in her usual health. 
On Friday, the 20th, she was at the theatre with friends. At i a.m. she 
was seized with violent internal pains ; these continued all day, but no 
danger was apprehended till 4.45 p.m., when she became insensible, and 

^ case 283, where the hallucination preceded the dream. For cases 
where a haHucination has beeu itself repeated after an interval, see 184, 213, 240. 


at 5.15 all was over. The cause of death, ' perforation of the stomach.' 
On the Saturday night H. dreamt that Maggie had been taken danger- 
ously ill ; the next evening when he went into the dining-room as usual 
to have his smoke previous to going to bed, just after he entered the room 
Maggie suddenly appeared to him. [Mrs. M.'s description of the appear- 
ance exactly coincides with her son's account.] 

" He told me in the morning what had happened. I tried to persuade 
him it was only an optical delusion, but he knew better. Why the appari- 
tion should have come to H. is most extraordinary, for he was not in the 
least superstitious, nervous, or fanciful. The only way we can account 
for it is that the telegram which the General sent off on Sunday never 
reached us, and it was actually Wednesday, the day of the funeral, before 
we heard the sad news, and she might have known this and come to tell 
us that she was gone. " R. L. m." 

We find from an obituary in the Leamington News that Miss R. died 
on 2 1st November, 1885, and that she " remained perfectly conscious 
until 5 o'clock, when she suddenly collapsed and died in a quarter of an 

§ 5. In the following group the reality is not only presented in a pic- 
torial way, but the dream-scene corresponds (in whole or in part) with 
what the eyes of the supposed agent are actually beholding. The major- 
ity, perhaps, of the alleged dream-cases are of this pictorial sort ; but 
most of them have to be set aside, on the ground either of inaccuracy of 
detail, or of the connection of the dream with matters that have been 
recently occupying the waking mind. Thus a widow whose husband was 
killed by an accident at sea gives a circumstantial account of her coinci- 
dent dream — " a vessel, like her husband's, wholly dismasted — the bare 
hull merely — being lowered by ropes down a beach, and all the crew 
assisting " ; and declares that the scene of her dream was exactly what 
was described in the letter which afterwards brought her the news. It 
appears, however, that the narrator had never seen the actual ship ; and 
inspection of the letter shows that, except the dismasting, the details of 
the dream had no counterpart whatever in reality. Thus all that remains 
is the simple coincidence of the dream and the death ; and such coinci- 
dences, in the case of casualties at sea, must, as we have seen, be generally 
excluded. W^e apply this rule even where the date of the dream has been 
immediately noted in a diary, and where we have every assurance that it 
was unique in the dreamer's experience. i\.gain, Mrs. Barter, of Careys- 
town, Whitegate, Co. Cork, has kindly given us an account of a dream 
which she had at the time of the Indian Mutiny. She seemed to see her 
husband, then adjutant in the 75th Foot, wounded, and in the act of 
binding up his leg with his puggeree, when four men of his regiment lifted 
him up and took him into a battery. " I at once wrote it to him and, in 
reply to my letter, heard that such an event had actually taken place." 
The coincidence was extremely close, and Colonel Barter, C.B., has con- 
firmed the account. He was carried into a battery by four sergeants ; 
and he is nearly sure that his wife mentioned sergeants in her first account 
of her dream. But, on being specially asked as to the puggeree, he stated 
that he bound up his leg not with a puggeree, but with a black silk necktie. 
This defect, combined with the fact that Mrs. Barter was in a ner\^ous 
state, and had another disturbing and quite un%"eridical dream about her 


husband during the same campaign, prevents us from allowing weight to 
the correspondence. So, again, Mrs. Powles, of Wadhurst, West Dulwich, 
has given us an account of a dream which her late husband narrated to 
her at the time, in which he saw his brother, Dr. Ralph Holden, who was 
exploring in the interior of Africa, lying under a large tree, supported by 
a man, and either dead or dying. They learnt from another explorer, 
Mr. Green, that Dr. Holden had died at just about that time, under a 
large tree, in the arms of his native servant ; and Mr. Holden recognised 
the scene of his dream in a sketch of the spot which Mr. Green had taken. 
But — to say nothing of the indefiniteness of the time-coincidence— the 
entourage is such as the idea of the death of an African traveller might 
readily enough suggest, quite apart from telepathy ; and the sight of the 
sketch would be precisely calculated to give spurious retrospective de- 
finiteness to the dream-scene. And once more, a most vivid dream (with 
a remarkable amount of correct detail, as well as several important dis- 
crepancies) in which a coachman, sleeping at a distance from his stables, 
saw a pony taken out, harnessed, and then after a time brought back, on 
the one single night on which this ever actually happened, has been dis- 
missed, as too much connected with the dreamer's normal train of ideas ; 
though his master (Mr. J. S. Dismorr, of Thelcrest Lodge, Gravesend) and 
another witness both testify to the fact that the dream was described before 
the reality was known. 

The following cases seem free from these objections, there having been 
no cause for anxiety on the percipient's part, and nothing to suggest the 

[Of the three cases then quoted two, 108 and no, are here omitted.] 

For the next case we are indebted to Mrs. Swithinbank, of Ormleigh, 
Mowbray Road, Upper Norwood, who is well acquainted with Mrs. Fleming, 
the narrator. 

" October 17th, 1882. 

(109) " Three years ago when staying at Ems for my health, one 
morning after having my bath, I was resting on the sofa reading. A 
slight drowsiness came over me and I distinctly saw the following : — 

" My husband, who was then in England, appeared to me riding down 
the lane leading to my father's house. Suddenly the horse grew restive, 
then plunged and kicked, and finally unseated his rider, throwing him 
violently to the ground. I jumped up hastily, thinking I had been asleep ; 
and on my going down to luncheon I related to a lady who was seated 
next to me what I had seen, and made the remark, ' I hope all is well at 
home.' My friend, seeing I was anxious, laughed and told me not to be 
superstitious, and so I forgot the incident, until 2 days afterwards I 
received a letter from home saying my husband had been thrown from his 
horse and had dislocated his shoulder. The time and place of the accident 
exactly agreed with my vision. " Laura Fleming." 

[Asked whether she can recall other dreams of a similarly vivid and 
realistic kind, Mrs. Fleming answers in the negative.] 

Such incidents as these really belong to the class which may be de- 
scribed as clairvoyant, and which I am reserving for the end of the chapter ; 
but I have brought forward these few examples for the sake of a special 


observation. In all the earlier dream-cases of this chapter, the role of the 
percipient was purely passive ; the impression received by him was 
apparently a direct and literal reproduction in whole or in part, of what 
was, or had been, consciously in the agent's mind. But these last narra- 
tives have introduced the same difference as appeared in the concluding 
cases of Chapter VI : though the scene which the dreamer pictured was 
the very one in which the agent was, the agent's own figure, with which 
his own attention was certainly not occupied, appeared in the dream. If, 
therefore, this part of the percept was transferred ready-made (so to 
speak) from the agent's mind, it must have been from a subconscious 
part of his mind. Such a view would present no serious difficulty ; for 
probably every one, after early childhood, retains at the background of 
his mind a dim realisation of his own personality in connection with 
his outer aspect ; and we have had proofs that a person may transmit 
an idea of which he is at the moment quite unaware. ^ At the same time, 
the cases where the agent's figure appears are equally suggestive of another 
explanation, and one which will prove of the highest importance in the 
sequel. They bring us to the point where we may suppose that the per- 
cipient is often himself the source of a great part of what he seems to 
perceive ; that he is no longer passively receptive of the impression 
which comes to him from without, but actively modifies and elaborates 
it. Thus, granted an idea of the agent to be transmitted, the appearance of 
the agent's figure in the telepathic picture will be no more remarkable 
than that, on reading a friend's name in a letter, I should be able instantly 
to project his image on my mental camera. It is only, however, in the 
next group of cases that this new role of the percipient becomes obvious. 

§ 6. It will be useful at this juncture to recall the more familiar ways 
in which dreams are shaped. We all know that physical disturbances — 
whether of sound, or light, or cold, or touch — will excite dreams, in which 
the disturbance appears as an element, sometimes without undergoing 
any change, sometimes in some transfigured but still quite recognisable 
form. Now in such cases we of course trace the dream to the externally- 
produced impression ; but the impression is a mere nucleus, which the 
dreaming mind embodies, it may be, in a long and complicated series of 
self-spun fancies, and which twenty dreaming minds would embody in 
twenty different ways. So with mental disturbances ; a recent sorrow, 
or exciting work overnight, is as effective a nucleus as a knock at the 
door or an uncomfortable posture. The established idea works on, amid 
the floating crowd of images which are the potential material of dreams, 
and attracts a certain number of them into a more or less grotesque 
connection with itself. 

There will thus be little difficulty in supposing that a percipient whom 
a strong " transferred impression " invades in his sleep may similarly 
combine it with his own dream-imager5^ We have no reason to imagine 
his own activity to be suspended, or his mind made a tabula rasa for foreign 
images. We should not, therefore, demand of telepathic dreams any 
sober and literal transcription of actual events. We should rather expect 

1 See pp. 63, 67-8, 82-92, 362-3 


to find the ordinary dream elements, the medley of images, the impossi- 
bilities and incongruities, no less prominent here than elsewhere. The root 
idea being given by the " transferred impression," it may then become 
the sport of irresponsible fancy, which develops it either in some haphazard 
way, or in accordance with the dreamer's habitual lines of thought 
or emotion ; so that the real event is announced either in a manner typi- 
cally dream-like and fantastic, or oftener, perhaps, in a manner which is 
to some extent symbolic. 

I will begin with cases where the element thus supplied is of the slightest 
possible amount. In the following three examples [iii, 112, 113] the 
dreamer may be supposed simply to give the most obvious auditory form 
to the impression received ; though in the second and third it is, no doubt, 
equally possible to suppose a direct auditory transfer, as in some of the 
experimental cases. [Only the second of the three examples is here 
quoted. It is] from the late Mr. George Gouldrick, of 16, Union Street, 

" 1883. 

(112) " In the month of April, 1876, I dreamt that an invalid, named 
Mary ScaffuU, widow, an inmate of Johnson's Hospitals, Commercial Road, 
Hereford (and whose husband had been an officer in the gaol of which I 
was governor) , was crying out for water ; it appeared to have been a long 
dream, and the cry seemed to be kept up for some time. When I was 
sitting at breakfast with my family next morning, I asked my wife when 
she had seen Mrs. ScaffuU last ; she replied, ' Some g days ago. I took 
her a rice pudding ; I could not get into the house, the door being locked. 
I therefore had to leave it at her sister's, who was living in the neighbour- 
hood, with a request that when she went to see her she would take it to 
her ; the dish has been returned, therefore I conclude she had the contents. 
Why, what is the matter, you seem troubled about her ? ' I then told her. 
my dream, and said, ' I have determined to go after breakfast and see 
what state she is in.' She answered, ' I am glad to hear you say so.' 

" As I approached the house, I could hear a cry of distress proceeding 
from some one of the inmates of the hospitals. I put my finger on the 
latch of the door occupied by Mrs. ScaffuU, when I heard the following 
supplication proceed from her in the most distressing tone : ' Will some 
kind Christian friend give me some water ? ' I took a jug from her lower 
room, went to the pump and filled it, and then took it with all haste to 
her bedside. When she saw me there with the water she said, ' Oh, Mr. 
Gouldrick, the Lord has sent you here, God Almighty bless you for bring- 
ing me this water.' She then drank copiously of it, and said, ' It's the 
sweetest water I ever tasted all my life long.' She died the same week, 
at the age of 77 years. " qeo. Gouldrick." 

Mr. Gouldrick's daughter corroborates as follows : — 

" December nth, 1883. 
" I was present at the breakfast-table when my father related his dream. 
I remember all that happened, and can therefore corroborate all he has 
written. My mother has since died. She was present also, and we 
expressed our astonishment when he returned home and told us what had 
happened. The only reason I am aware of that the neighbours (who heard 
all) did not attend to her cry, was that she was in receipt of 7s. per week 
more than they were, and that caused an ill-feeling towards her. 

" Hannah Gouldrick." 


And now we come to the large and important group where the per- 
cipient forms a very distinct picture of the agent, whose figure and aspect 
(sometimes with the addition of speech) is not a mere element in a scene, 
but the one thing prominently represented. I will still keep for a time to 
simple cases, where the mental image that is conjured up corresponds 
pretty closely to the reality. [No. 114, a death case, is omitted.] 

The next case is from Mrs. Fielding, of Yarlington Rectory, Bath, who 
was also the narrator of cases 90 and 700, above. 

" January, 1884. 
(115) "I some time ago had rather a remarkable vision, but it was of 
the living. I have an only son, about 20, always in robust health, then in 
lodgings in London. Never were mother and son more to one another 
than we are. One night I awoke heartbroken by seeing him in bed very 
ill. I stood weeping by his bed, lifting his white face in my two hands, 
and saying he must be dying. On my husband waking I told him it all, 
and those at breakfast next morning, and said, ' Let us see if it's only a 
dream.' A week passed, and my usual letter did not come from my son. 
After a time one came saying he had been ill in bed a week, too ill to let 
me know, and the landlady had nursed him through it. 

" Jane E. Fielding." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Fielding adds : — 

" I found my son's letter telling of the illness I spoke of, and find it 
was written on the 15th July, 1882, a Saturday, and my vision-dream 
— for it was too distinct for a common dream ; yet I was not wide awake, 
and could not vouch I had seen the picture consciously , yet it was most 
real — took place either on the night of 12th or 13th July, and I find both 
my husband and son-in-law remember my speaking of it, though the dates 
escape them. I now quote from my son's letter : ' I go back to the City 
on Monday, but I thought it was no use telling you, to make you anxious, 
of my attack of quinsy till I was better ; and the doctor and my land- 
lady nursed me most carefully, and now I can swallow,' It has much 
pain, this complaint, and it was that look of pain I saw on his face in my 
vision that /gave me such pain. I can swear to the vision having been 
before the letter came. Were I in the least dubious, T should be the first 
to say so, having a glimpse of the meaning of the word science. I can't 
recall any other such ' clear-seeing.' I never had a dream like this before." 

I have seen Mrs. Fielding's -etter to her son, dated Monday July 24th, 
in which she says. " On Thursday morning [i.s-, July 13th] when I came 
down to breakfast, I said to Tom and Arthur [her son-in-law with whom 
she now lives], ' I hope Charlie is well ; for I had such a queer dream of 
finding him lying in bed on his face, and when I turned it round, it was 
ghastly pale and ill-looking — and I was so sighing all da^^ after, and 
expected to hear, as I did, you were ill.' Now that's funny ! Shows how 
our souls are closely united. Arthur is just saying to me he ' quite 
remembers my telling him my dream.' " 

[This practically proves that Mrs. Fielding is accurate in saying that 
her dream was described before the news was known. But the force of 
the coincidence is of course weakened b}'' the fact that the illness extended 
over several days.] 

In the next case the form of a vision — a figure at the bedside — suggest -i 
not so much a genuine dream as the sort of semi-waking hallucination 


which will be considered in the next chapter (compare also Mr. Wingfield's 
case, p. 142). The narrator is Mrs. L. H. Saunders, of St. Helen's, near 
Ryde, who was concerned in case 44. 

" March i8th, 1885. 

(116) " Towards morning of the loth January, 1885, I was conscious 
of a young woman standing by my bedside clad in a grey dressing-govv^n, 
holding in her arms, towards me, a child. The woman was weeping 
bitterl}^ and said, ' Oh ! Mrs. Saunders, I am in such trouble.' I instantly 
recognised her as Mrs. C. R. Seymour, and was about to interrogate her 
as to her trouble, when I was awakened by my husband asking me what 
was the matter, as I seemed so distressed. I told him I had had such 
a sad dream about poor Fanny Goodall (maiden name of Mrs. C. R. S.), 
but it really was to me more than a dream — so much so, that after rising 
I communicated it to the governess. Miss Monkman, also to the nurse and 
servant. I decided to send to her mother, Mrs. Goodall, to inquire if she 
had received any tidings of her daughter, who was resident in New 
Zealand with her husband and two children, but as on after consideration 
I felt I might cause her alarm, I altered my intention. This dream or 
vision made so deep and lasting an impression that I constantly alluded 
to it to members of our household, until circumstances occasioned my 
calling on Mrs. Goodall about the beginning of this month, March, 1885, 
when I made particular inquiries for her daughter ; and on being assured 
that she was well, according to letters by the most recent mail, I ventured 
to express my gratification, giving, as my reason for such, a narration of 
the ' vision ' that had not even then ceased to haunt me ; which elicited 
from Mrs. Goodall and both of her daughters, who were present, fervent 
hopes that all was well with Mrs. Seymour.^ 

" On March 12th I again called on Mrs. Goodall, who on receiving me, 
with much emotion said, ' Oh, have you heard the bad news of Fanny ? 
I have thought so much of what you told me ; her dear little Dottie has 
gone. I will read you her letters,' both of which, although coming by 
different mails, had only been received within the past 24 hours. I should 
mention that, although I have felt very interested in and thought much 
of Mrs. C. R. S. before and since her departure from this coimtry, yet I 
have never corresponded with her ; but I now learn that she invariably 
mentioned me in her home correspondence, and felt much indebted to me 
for some trifling kindness I had been able to show her in the past. I am 
able to fix the date of my vision from circumstances which I need not 
here relate. " Bessie Saunders." 

The force of the coincidence seems not much affected one way or the 
other by the following addition : — 

" In reply to yout question, I have had distressing dreams relating to 
death at intervals, which have not corresponded with reality ; but those 
you are already cognisant of [viz., this one and another which corresponded 
with reality^] are the only ones which impressed themselves sufffciently 
to induce me to take steps to discover if they did correspond with the 
reality, although I may have mentioned their purport casually at the time." 

1 This has been completely confirmed by letters from Mrs. Goodall and her two 

- In this second case (as to which we again have Mr. Saunders's testimony to the 
fact that the dream was described before the reality was known) the dream was that 
a friend alighted from a hearse, and onterod clad in deep mourning ; and it fell on 
the night on which that friend's mother, whom she was attending, unexpectedly died. 


Mr. Latimer H. Saunders writes : — 

" March i8th, 1885. 

" I clearly remember on or about the loth of January, 1885, early 
morning, suddenly awaking, and finding my wife leaning forward in bed. 
I asked her, ' What was the matter ? ' She seemed agitated, and replied 
to the following effect : ' Oh, I have had such a horrid dream ! Fanny 
Goodall was standing here at my side, quite close, holding out the child in 
such distress, but I could not tell what she wanted ; it was so real, I could 
have touched her, but you awoke me.' Before rising, my wife repeated the 
incident in detail. Late on March 12th, she told me the sequel. 

" Fortunately, I can safely fix the date as being the morning of either 
the 9th, loth, or nth of January, as during that month these were, owing 
to circumstances, the only possible occasions on which the incident, as 
related, could have occurred, while my mental impression, independently 
arrived at, strongly points to the loth as the day. 

" Latimer H. Saunders." 

Miss E. A. Monkman, in a letter to Mrs. Saunders (dated 16, Castle- 
dine Road, Anerley, i6th March, 1885), of which I have seen a copy, 
gives exactly similar testimony as to Mrs. Saunders's description of her 
dream at the time, and adds that it must have been on the 9th or loth 
of the month. And on March 20th, a servant in the house, unprompted 
(as Mrs. Saunders assures us), dictated the following statement : — 

" I remember Saturday morning, the loth of January last. The 
mistress came into the kitchen to speak about the flue. After doing so 
she told me of such a bad dream she had had of Mrs. Se^Tiiour, of New 
Zealand, coming to her bedside with her little child in her arms. Mrs. 
Seymour was crying so bitterly, and imploring her for help. — E. Dawson." 

The following is an extract from a letter received from Mrs. Sej'mour 
by Mrs. Goodall, dated January 15th, 1885. 

" I do not know how to write it, mother. Dottie is dead ; a week ago 
this very Thursday evening she was taken ill, and on Saturday at 10 
minutes to 10 in the evening she died." 

[Allowing for longitude, the dream must have preceded the death by 
•B few hours.] 

[Cases 117, 118, 119, 120, 121 are omitted.] 

The next two cases are from Mrs. Freese, of Granite Lodge, Chisle- 
hurst. The occurrence of several such experiences to the same person is 
in itself a point of interest, provided that that person's recollection as to 
their having been of an exceptionally vivid and disturbing character can 
be relied on. 

[The first of these, 122, is omitted.] 

" March, 1884. 

(123) " In September, 1881, I had another curious dream, so vivid 
that I seemed to see it. 

" My two boys of 18 and 16 were staying in the Black Forest, under 
the care of a Dr. Fresenius. I must say here that I always supposed the 
boys would go everywhere together, and I never should have supposed 
that in that lonely country, so new to them, they would be out after dark. 
My husband and 1 were staying at St. Leonards, and on Saturday night I 
woke at about 12 o'clock (rather before, as I heard it strike), having just 


seen vividly a dark night on a mountain, and my eldest boy lying on his 
back at the bottom of some steep place, his eyes wide open and saying, 
' Good-bye, mother and father, I shall never see you again.' I woke with 
a feeling of anxiety, and the next morning when I told it to my husband, 
though we both agreed it was absurd to be anxious, yet we would write 
and tell the boys we hoped they would never go out alone after dark. To 
my surprise my eldest boy, to whom I wrote the dream, wrote back 
expressing his great astonishment, for on that Saturday night he was 
coming home over the mountains, past 11 o'clock ; it was pitch dark, and 
he slipped and fell down some 12 feet or so, and landed on his back, 
looking up to the sky. However, he was not much hurt and soon picked 
himself up and got home all right. He did not say what thoughts passed 
through his mind as he fell. " Octavia Freese." 

In answer to inquiries, Mrs. Freese adds : — 

" Before my son wrote about his fall in the Black Forest, I related my 
dream to my husband, and as he seemed a little moved by it, I wrote an 
account of it to my boy, saying his father did not wish them to be out 
after dark alone. I had not told my boy when it was, deeming that 
immaterial, but when in his letter, received days after, he said, ' Was it 
Saturday night ? because then so-and-so,' I remembered what I should 
not otherwise have noted, that it was Saturday night ; for on the Sunday 
morning my husband, being much worried about some business matter, 
elected to spend the morning with me in the fields instead of going to 
church, and as much to divert his mind as anything I related to him my 
dream of the night before." 

Mrs. Freese sent us the letter from her son, which contained the 
following passage : — 

" With regard to your dream : did you dream it on September 3rd ? 
if so it was on that night, coming home rather late, that I fell down a 
precipice of 8 feet, or perhaps more, in the dark, and might have broken 
my neck, but didn't. However, I don't think you will find me walking 
about after dark more than I can help, as the roads are very dark, and the 
fogs in the village awful. " fred E. Freese." 

[September 3rd, 1881, was a Saturday.] 

Mr. Freese writes : — 

" March 17th, 1884. 

" Mrs. Freese has read to me the paper she has sent you, and I feel 
bound to say that both the dreams she refers to concerning myself [i.e., 
No. 122], and our eldest son I well remember, and noted them at the time 
she described them, together with the circumstances that strangely 
accompanied them. " j, w_ Freese." 

In answer to the question whether he noted them in writing, Mr. 
Freese replies that he did not. " It struck me at the time as very remark- 
able, but life was then with me too busy to leave time to dwell upon the 

§ 7. In the foregoing examples the elements with which the dreamer 
may be supposed to have invested the telepathic impression have been 
few and simple. We now come to cases where definitely new elements 
have been introduced, and the impression which corresponds with reality 
acts as the germ of a quite imaginary dream-picture. [The first two, 124, 
125, are omitted.] 


In the next case, a definite scene is depicted, suggestive of death and 
appropriate to the person who had actually died ; but everything beyond 
the true impression of the death is supplied by the dreamer. The narrator 
is Mrs. Herbert Bolland {nee Gary, granddaughter of the translator of 
Dante), of 7, Cranbury Terrace, Southampton. The experience was 
quite unique in her life, and exemplifies — what will be suggested by other 
cases — a possible effect of illness in heightening the percipient faculty. 

" July, 1884. 

(126) " In September, 1879, I was in B s, and laid up with a 

rather sharp attack of fever, kept to my room, and seeing no one. In 
the middle of one night I v/as awoke, as was my husband also, by a most 
piercing shriek ; he knew it was I who had cried aloud, whilst I laad then 
no idea of it. But I began to tell him that I had been dreaming his sister 
was teasing me, and I looked up and saw (and as I came to that point I 
was again seized with horror) a tall man, dead, being carried, with his 
hair, which was very thick, falling back from his face. The figure impressed 
me with the idea of being upheld by four men, but I did not see any of 
them. I knew the figure at once, and kept saying, ' The Colonel's dead, 
the Colonel's dead,' and it was an hour or two before my husband could 
calm me, and I could go to sleep again. At last I did so, however, and 
the next sound we heard was the servant knocking at our door, and 
calling out, ' Get up, sir, the Colonel's dead ; you're wanted.' 

" Colonel F. had died after a short illness, of which I knew nothing at 
all. My husband thought he had a cold, but had not named it to me or 
been anxious about it himself, and, as far as I was concerned, my acquaint- 
ance with him was of the slightest, so that if I had been told he had a 
cold, I should not have thought about it again. 

" I may add that I have said many times, when asked to explain it, I 
believe it was caused by Major White, who was with the F.'s, thinking of 
us, and what a shock it would be, as my husband was the only other R.E. 
officer there, and would have to arrange for the funeral next day. That 
was what seemed to me likely, because I have noticed all my life that I 
frequently speak of the subjects which are in the thoughts of my friends 
and companions without any apparent cause, and have been accustomed 
to speak of it as the result of ' m}^ sixth sense,' because I did not know 
what else to call it. It has often been a subject of annoyance to me in 
one way, which was that, with one very dear friend, our letters invariably 
crossed (though very infrequently written), so that we never felt as if we 
had an answer. She complained, and so did I, but we could not alter it. 

" Kate E. Bolland." 

We find from the Army List that Colonel F. died on September 7th, 

The following is from Lieut. -Colonel Bolland, R.E. : — 

" July 2oth, 1884. 

" With regard to Colonel F., I cannot say I remember that Mrs. 
Bolland mentioned his name, though she may have done so ; but having 
awoke me with a terrific scream at about i a.m., on the 8th September, 
1879 (which I think was the date), she told me she had been dreaming of 
my sister, and when looking up to speak to her, she saw a tall man, dead, 
being carried by four other men, his head dropping, and long, thick hair 
falling back. 

" She was terribly frightened, and it was some time before we again 


got to sleep. The next sound I heard was the servant knocking at my 
door, and calling out, ' Get up, sir, you are wanted ; the Colonel is dead ! ' 
I had known Colonel F. was ill, but had not thought seriously of it, nor 
had I named it to my wife, who had herself been ill some days with denzie 
fever. If I had thought of his illness at all, it would have been without 
any anxiety, as I had h^ard he was better, and able to lie on the sofa. It 
is now some years since these things happened, and I may not be correct 
in my remembrance of all details ; but as to both the waking ^ and the 
sleeping impressions being named to me before the events which they 
seemed to have indicated v/ere known, or could be known to us in any 
ordinary way, I am positive. " G. Herbert Bolland." 

In conversation with the present writer, Colonel Bolland spontaneously 
referred to the extraordinary character of the scream. 

Colonel Bolland's account suggested some doubt in his mind as to 
whether his wife had actually identified the dead man before the news of 
the death was known, and this point was accordingly inquired about. In 
his. reply, Colonel Bolland mentioned that for some time past his hearing 
has been somewhat imperfect and uncertain, and he continues : — 

" I can safely say that Mrs. Bolland, from the time of the event, has 
always said she said, ' It is the Colonel,' and I have never told her that 
I did not hear her, never doubting but that she said it. She, however, is 
much surprised that I never mentioned the fact of not having heard it. 
Her description at the time left no doubt in my own mind that it was 
Colonel F. She said she saw a long (or perhaps tall) man being carried, 
with his long hair falling back. Colonel F. wore his hair long for a military 
man of the present day, so the short description she gave me identified 
the man, as long hair is so rarely worn by military men. We may even 
have discussed whether it was he, but I don't remember her saying almost 
at once, ' It is the Colonel.' My wife has a very much better memory for 
conversations than I have, so that I will not undertake to say that we 
did not discuss, between i a.m. and 6 a.m., whether or not it was Colonel 
F. ; but I am certain I did not hear my wife say at once, immediately 
after her short description of the dream, ' It is the Colonel,' but she may 
have said it without my hearing it. Mrs. Bolland is so minutely accurate 
in repeating a conversation that I feel sure her version is much more to 
be relied on than my own." 

And Mrs. Bolland adds : — 

" July 27th, 1884. 

" As regards my own opinion of what happened after my dream about 
Colonel F., I have not, nor ever had, any doubt that it was he I saw. I 
can see the whole scene before me now, as I saw it then, and I cannot get 
over my impression that I mentioned his name at once, or rather, as soon 
as I came upon the recollection of what had made me scream. I think 
I have told you that although my own scream awoke me, I did not at 
once know that I had been frightened, or that I had cried out. But in 
describing my dream to my husband, I suddenly came upon the picture 
again, and then I was so frightened it was some time before I could get 
over it." 

[I received by pure accident a confirmation of the fact that Mrs. 
Bolland mentioned Colonel F. at the moment. I was sitting at tea with 
Colonel and Mrs. Bolland ; and the conversation turning on telepathy, but 

^ This refers to another case, No. 201, below. 


no mention having been made of the above case, a sister of Colonel 
Bolland's, who was present, suddenly said to Mrs. BoUand, " Do you 
remember about that time when you called out, ' There's the Colonel ? ' " 
It turned out that she remembered these words as having occurred in a 
letter from Mrs. Bolland, which described the incident immediately after 
its occurrence ; and neither of them could recall that the subject had been 
afterwards talked of between them.] 

We come now to cases where a distinctly fantastic element appears ; 
the reality is bodied forth in a dream-scene which has no relation to actual 

The following case is remarkable in that there were two percipients, 
for one of whom the distant event was embodied in a fantastic, and for 
the other in a more normal, manner. The doubling of the experience of 
course enormously increases the improbability that the coincidence was 
accidental ; but it is open to us to suppose that only one of the dreams 
was directly connected with the absent friend, and that this dream pro- 
duced the other, on the analogy of some of the cases of simultaneous 
dreaming already given. ^ Miss Varah, of 40, James Street, Cowley Road, 
Oxford, writes : — 

" January, 1885. 

{127) " A friend of mine, Mr. Adams, was seriously ill, and we were 
expecting his death. I had a dream that I saw the corpse of his wife laid 
out upon a bed, though we had no reason to suppose that she was even 
ill. A friend with whom I was staying also dreamed that she saw Mrs. 
Adams a corpse. [This is not accurate.] The morning's post brought 
news of her dangerous illness, and a telegram during the morning announced 
her death. My friend and I told each other our dreams in the morning at 
breakfast. My friend had called for her letters before coming down in the 
morning, fearing bad news. " Marianne Varah." 

In answer to inquiries. Miss Varah tells us that Mrs. Adams died 
between 11 and i, on the night of February 25th, 1876, and we find the 
25th given as the date in an obituary notice in the Sheffield Daily Tele- 
graph : but she does not know the exact hour of her dream. She adds, 
" The dream described is the only one I believe I ever had of the kind." 

Miss Varah's friend, the late Mrs. Muller, wrote as follows : — 

"8, Bevington Road, Oxford. 

" January, 1885. 
" I dreamed that I was at Hastings, on the shore. I saw my friend. 
Miss Adams, running towards me. She passed me by, and then took off 
her hat and bent her head down into the sea. I tried to grasp her by 
her clothes, but she cried out, ' Don't stop me, for my mother is dying.' 
In the morning I jumped out of bed on hearing the post, and said to 
Marianne Varah, ' Have you had a letter from Miss Adams ? There 
must be something the matter with her mother.' Miss Varah answered, 
' I have a letter, but have not opened it. I have had a very strange 
dream, but I thought nothing of it, because Mr. Adams is so ill.' Miss 
Varah then opened her letter, and called out, ' You are right.' There 
were a few lines, ' My mother is dangerously ill : doctors say no hope. 
We will send a telegram.' The telegram came during the morning of 

1 This alternative will be considered in Chap, xviii., on " Collective Cases." 


February 24th [clearly a mistake for 26th], 1876, saying she was dead. 
She had been in perfect health the day before. 

" Neither Miss Varah nor myself are at all given to dreams, and had 
not till then believed in them at all. « Emily E. Muller." 

[In case 128, which is omitted] the dreamer's mind embodied the idea 
of death in the figure of a long deceased relative. More commonly the 
imagery in such cases is drawn from the familiar earthly symbols of death 
— coffins, funeral processions, and graves. A few examples may be given 
here [129 and 130 omitted]. 

In the following cases the imagery of death is still more elaborately 
developed. Mrs. Hilton, a lady actively engaged in most practical work, 
and not in the least a " visionary," has given us the following accounts ; — 

" 234, Burdett Road, E. 

" April loth, 1883. 

(131) " The dream which I am about to relate occurred about 2 ^^ears 
ago. I seemed to be walking in a country road, v/ith high grassy banks on 
either side. Suddenly I heard the tramp of many feet. Feeling a strange 
sense of fear, I called out, ' Who are these people coming ? ' A voice 
above me replied, ' A procession of the dead.' I then found myself on the 
bank, looking into the road where the people were walking, five or six 
abreast. Hundreds of them passed by me — neither looking aside nor 
looking at each other. They were people of all conditions and in all 
ranks of life. I saw no children amongst them. I watched the long 
line of people go away into the far distance, but I felt no special interest 
in any of them, until I saw a middle-aged Friend, dressed as a gentleman 
farmer. I pointed to him and called out, ' Who is that, please ? ' He 
turned round and said in a loud voice, ' I am John M., of Chelmsford.' 
Then my dream ended. Next day, when my husband returned from his 
office he told me that John M., of Chelmsford, had died the previous day. 

" I may add that I only knew the Friend in question by sight and 
cannot recollect ever speaking to him." 

We find from a newspaper obituary that J. M.'s death took place on 
January 14th, 1880. 

(132) " About a year ago, I had a dream very similar to the preceding 
one. The locality was the same. The only difference was that I was 
standing in the road, trying to prevent a little girl from joining the pro- 
cession. The lady, in whose charge the child was and v/ho was standing 
by me in the road, said, ' I am giving her into the charge of Charles P., of 
Darlington,' mentioning the name of a well-known member of the Society 
of Friends. I replied, ' That is not Charles P.' I called out as before, 
' Who are you, please ? ' A young man in the procession turned round and 
said, ' I am J. G.' Next morning I heard that J. G. had died rather 
suddenly in the night. I knew this young man, but not intimately, and 
I had not seen him for months. 

" Again, a third time, I found myself in the same place, but my terror 
was so extreme, that I kneeled on the bank and prayed that I might not 
witness the march of the dead. Instantly I was removed, and the tramp 
of the terrible procession ceased. I never discovered that anyone whom 
I knew died at the time of this last dream. 

" In each of these three dreams I seemed to be under the influence and 
dread of some unseen power. " ]viarie Hilton," 

In answer to inquiries as to the first of these cases, Mrs. Hilton says : — 

" I did not know that John M. was ill, and had not even heard his 
name mentioned ; I could not trace any reason why he should have been 
in my thoughts." 

In answer to inquiries as to the second case, she says : — 

" I recognised the little girl as the child of a friend. I had not heard 
anything about the child to make me dream of her. Charles P. had been 
dead for some years at the date of the dream." 

The absence of any ascertained coincidence on the third occasion 
might be represented as an argument for regarding the correspondence 
on the two previous occasions as accidental, but it would be a very weak 
one ; since even if the dream had recurred a thousand times, the chances 
against the accidental occurrence of two such coincidences would still 
remain enormous. The tendency on the dreamer's part to symbolise 
death in one particular way is neither against nor in favour of the tele- 
pathic explanation. 1 

While on the subject of symbolic dreams, I may observe that many 
persons profess to have a particular recurrent dream, which in itself has 
no obvious relation to death, but which proves in fact to coincide more or 
less closely with deaths or other calamities that affect them. I need 
hardly say that such statements have no evidential value, unless we can 
be sure that they are more than the loose assertions of persons who see 
no importance in noting misses as well as hits, and to whom it is no diffi- 
culty in the way of the supposed correspondence that the two events 
were separated perhaps by a month's interval. In most of such cases, 
indeed, the dream precedes the event and is professedly taken as a " warn- 
ing " ; so that, however well attested, they could have no place in this 

§ 8. I pass now to the final class of cases, where the dreamer seems, 
as it were, to be transported to the actual scene of the event. These 
cases, like the final cases of the 6th chapter, cannot but suggest certain 
phenomena of the waking state which are other than those of thought- 
transference — the phenomena of so-called clairvoyance. But I must 
again draw attention to the radical differences in the phenomena which 
that word may be made to cover. There are certain alleged facts of waking 
clairvoyance which, if true, would drive us to the conclusion that the per- 
cipient's powers of vision were independent of the thoughts, either actually 
passing or latent, in the minds of others. No doubt very many facts have 
been loosely ascribed to clairvoyance, which we should now regard as 
simple examples of thought-transference. This has been owing partly 
to the blindness of writers on clairvoyance to the enormous difficulties 
which the assumption of such a faculty involves ; but still more to the 
lack, until lately, of accurate experiments in thought-transference. But 
there remain facts which — if the testimony of Robert Houdin and other 

^ It is worth noting that these dreams — for all their bizarrerie — seem to belong to 
a known type. Our friend, Mr. J. A. Symonds, has given us an account of a Swiss 
Todten- Volk-Seher, who sees a procession of the dead going along a path with a high 
bank on one side. 


experts can be trusted — no possible extension of the theory of thought- 
transference will cover ; and in which, though the particular result 
obtained depended in some manner on the particular person who sought 
to obtain it, the range of perception altogether transcended the past or 
present contents of that person's mind. Now with such cases as these we 
have nothing to do in the present work. Even should some of the ex- 
amples to be adduced seem to take us beyond the confines of thought- 
transference in any literal sense, they will still not take us beyond the 
confines of telepathy — of a theory which implies some sort of influence of 
the mind of an agent on the mind of a percipient. The percipient may 
observe a scene, into the midst of which he finds himself mentally trans- 
ported, with such completeness of detail, and for such a length of time, 
as at any rate to suggest some actual exercise on it of his own independent 
perceptional powers ; but it will still be a scene with some principal actor 
in which he is in some way linked. He may see a death-bed and the 
surrounding mourners ; but we have no sort of reason to suppose that 
he could similarly see any death-bed. There has, at any rate, been an 
agent, in the sense of a particular person whose actual presence in the 
scene has to be accepted as a condition of the percipient's imagined pre- 
sence ; and however novel and exceptional the way in which the per- 
cipient's range of knowledge may seem to be extended, these further 
glimpses still take place apparently not in any chance direction, but in 
a direction marked out by his previous affinities with other minds. But 
in fact the process need not seem so exceptional, if we recall once more 
the right which experiment has given us to draw on parts of the agent's 
mind which are below the level of ostensible consciousness. For in none 
of the cases to be here cited do the percipient's impressions extend beyond 
what has been before the mind — though certainly beyond what has been 
before the attention — of persons actually present at the scene. We may 
perhaps be led sometimes to conceive several of these minds as contri- 
buting to the impression. But some of the experimental results have 
already introduced on a small scale the notion of joint agency,^ and may 
thus enable us to maintain the analogy between experimental and spon- 
taneous telepathy in a manner which least of all might have been ex- 

I may cite at once the two cases which seem the furthest removed 
from any of the preceding, inasmuch as the " agency " in them is specially 
hard to conceive. They happen to be at the two extremes of the trivial 
and the tragic. The first is reported by a Nvitness — Miss Busk, of 16, 
Montagu Street, W. — who is strongly adverse to the telepathic theory, 
and holds the view that aU the alleged coincidences are accidental, and 
that the more numerous they are, the more clearly accidental must they 

" 1884. 

(133) " I dreamt that I was walking in a wood in my father's place in 
Kent, in a spot well known to me, where there was sand under the firs ; 
I stumbled over some objects, which proved to be the heads, left pro- 
truding, of some ducks buried in the sand. The idea impressed me as so 

^ See Professor Lodge's experiment, p. 41 ; and the remarks on M. Richet's later 
results, p. 64. 


comical that I fortunately mentioned it at breakfast next morning, and 
one or two persons remember that I did so. Only an hour later it hap- 
pened that the old bailiff of the place came up for some instructions 
unexpectedly, and as he was leaving he said he must tell us a strange thing 
that had happened : there had been a robbery in the farmyard, and some 
stolen ducks had been found buried in the sand, with their heads protrud- 
ing, in the very spot where I had seen the same. The farm was underlet, 
and I had not even any interest in the ducks, to carry my thoughts towards 
them under the nefarious treatment they received. •' ^ j^ Busk " 

Miss Busk's sister, Mrs. Pitt Byrne, who was present when this dream 
was told, corroborates as follows : — 

" I distinctly remember, and have often since spoken of, the circum- 
stance of Miss R. H. Busk's relating to me her dream of ducks buried in 
the wood, before the bailiff who reported the incident came up to town. 

"J. Pitt Byrne." 

The next case is remarkable for the number of points of correspon- 
dence, though the dream is typically fantastic and confused. The narra- 
tive is from Mrs. Storie, of 8, Gilmour Road, Edinburgh. It was written 
by her, she tells us, the day, or the day after, the news of the fatal accident 
arrived, merely as a relief to herself, and without an idea of any further 
use. She prepared an account for us in a more finished form ; but it 
seems preferable to give the original rough notes, which she has kindly 
allowed us to copy. The brother in this case was a twin with herself (see 

P- 195)- 

" Hobart Town. 

" July. 1874. 
(134) " On the evening of the i8th July, I felt unusually nervous. This 
seemed to begin [with the occurrence of a small domestic annoyance] 
about half-past 8 o'clock. When I went to my room I even felt as if 
someone was there. I fancied as I stepped into bed that someone in 
thought tried to stop me. At 2 o'clock I woke from the following dream. 
It seemed like in dissolving views. In a twinkle of light I saw a railway 
and the puff of the engine. I thought, ' What's going on up there ? 
Travelling ? I wonder if any of us are travelling and I dreaming of it.' 
Someone unseen by me answered, ' No ; something quite different — 
something wrong.' ' I don't like to look at these things,' I said. Then 
I saw behind and above my head William's upper half reclining, eyes and 
mouth half shut ; his chest moved forward convulsively, and he raised his 
right arm. Then he bent forward, saying, ' I suppose I should move ovit 
of this.' Then I saw him lying, eyes shut, on the ground, fiat. The 
chimney of an engine at his head. I called in excitement, ' That will 
strike him ! ' The ' someone ' answered, ' Yes — well, here's what it was ' ; 
and immediately I saw William sitting in the open air — faint moonlight — 
on a raised place, sideways. He raised his right arm, shuddered, and said, 
' I can't go on, or back, No.' Then he seemed lying flat. I cried out, ' Oh ! 
Oh ! ' and others seemed to echo, ' Oh ! Oh ! ' He seemed then upon his 
elbow, sa^dng, ' Now it comes.' Then, as if struggling to rise, turned twice 
round quickly, saying, ' Is it the train ? the train, the train,' his right 
shoulder reverberating as if struck from behind. He fell back like faint- 
ing ; his eyes rolled. A large dark object came between us like panelling 
of wood, and rather in the dark something rolled over, and like an arm was 
thrown up, and the whole thing went away with a sxvish. Close beside me 


on the ground there seemed a long dark object. I called out, ' They've left 
something behind, it's like a man.' It then raised its shoulders and head 
and fell down again. The same someone answered, ' Yes, sadly.' [? ' Yes,' 
sadly.] After a moment I seemed called on to look up, and said, ' Is that 
thing not away yet ? ' Answered, ' No.' And in front, in light, there was 
a railway compartment in which sat Rev. Mr. Johnstone, of Echuce. I 
said, ' WTiat's he doing there ? ' Answered, ' He's there.' A railway porter 

went up to the window asking, ' Have you seen any of ? ' I caught no 

more, but I thought he referred to the thing left behind. Mr. Johnstone 
seemed to answer, ' No ' ; and the man went quickly away — I thought 
to look for it. After all this the someone said close to me, ' Now I'm 

a tall dark figure at my head 
going.' I started, and at once saw William's back at my side. He put 
his right hand (in grief) over his face, and the other almost touching my 
shoulder, he crossed in front, looking stern and solemn. There was a 
flash from the eyes, and I caught a glimpse of a fine, pale face like ushering 
him along, and indistinctly another. I felt frightened, and called out, ' Is 
he angry ? ' ' O, no.' ' Is he going away ? ' Answered, ' Yes,' by the 
same someone, and I woke with a loud sigh, which woke my husband, who 
said, ' What is it ? ' I told him I had been dreaming ' something un- 
pleasant ' — named a ' railway,' and dismissed it all from my mind as a 
dream. As I fell asleep again I fancied the ' someone ' said, ' It's all gone,' 
and another answered, ' I'll come and remind her.' 

" The news reached me one week afterwards. The accident had hap- 
pened to m}^ brother on the same night about half-past 9 o'clock. Rev. 
Mr. Johnstone and his wife were actually in the train which struck him. 
He was walking along the line which is raised 2 feet on a level country. 
He seemed to have gone 16 miles — must have been tired and sat down to 
take off his boot, which was beside him, dozed off and was very likely 
roused by the sound of the train ; 76 sheep-trucks had passed without 
touching him, but some wooden projection, likely the step, had touched 
the right side of his head, bruised his right shoulder, and killed him instan- 
taneously. The night was very dark. I believe now that the someone 
was (from something in the way he spoke) William himself. The face 
with him was white as alabaster, and something like this [a small sketch 
pasted on] in profile. There were many other thoughts or words seemed 
to pass, but they are too many to write down here. 

" The voice of the ' someone ' unseen seemed always above the figure 
of William which I saw. And when I was shown the compartment of the 
carriage with Mr. Johnstone, the someone seemed on a line between me 
and it — above me." 

In an account-book of Mrs. Storie's, on a page headed July, 1874, we 
find the i8th day marked, and the words, " Dear Willie died," and 
" Dreamed, dreamed of it all," appended. 

The first letter, from the Rev. J. C. Johnstone to the Rev. John 
Storie, announcing the news of the accident, is lost. The following are 
extracts from his second and third letters on the subject : — 

" Echuce, loth August, 1874. 
" The place where Hunter was killed is on an open plain, and there 
was consequently plenty of room for him to escape the train had he been 
conscious ; but I think Meldrum's theory is the correct one, that he 
had sat down to adjust some bandages on his leg and had thoughtlessly 
gone off to sleep. There is only one line of rails, and the ground is raised 
abouL 2 feet — the ground on which the rails rest. He had probably sat 


down on the edge, and lain down backwards so as to be within reach of 
some part of the train. It was not known at the time that an accident had 
occurred. Mrs. Johnstone and myself were in the train. Meldrum says 
he was not very much crushed. The top of the skull was struck off, and 
some ribs were broken, under the arm-pit on one side. His body was 
found on the Sunday morning by a herd-boy from the adjoining station." 

" August 29th, 1874. 
" The exact time at which the train struck poor Hunter must have 
been about 9.55 p.m., and his death must have been instantaneous." 

The above corresponds with the account of the inquest in the Riverine 
Herald for July 22nd. The Melbourne Argus also describes the accident as 
having taken place on the night of Saturday, the i8th. 

The foUov/ing remarks are taken from notes made by Professor 
Sidgwick, during an interview with Mrs. Storie, in April, 1884, and by 
Mrs. Sidgwick, after another interview in September, 1885 : — 

Mrs. Storie cannot regard the experience exactly as a dream, though 
she woke up from it.^ She is sure that it did not grow more definite in 
recollection afterwards. She never had a series of scenes in a dream at 
any other time. They were introduced by a voice in a whisper, not recog- 
nised as her brother's. He had sat on the bank as he appeared in the 
dream. The engine she saw behind him had a chimney of peculiar shape, 
such as she had not at that time seen ; and she remembers that Mr. Storie 
thought her foolish about insisting on the chimney — unlike (he said) any 
which existed ; but he informed her when he came back from Victoria, 
where her brother was, that engines of this kind had just been introduced 
there. She had no reason to think that any conversation between the 
porter and the clergyman actually occurred. The persons who seemed to 
lead her brother away were not recognised by her, and she only saw the 
face of one of them. 

Mr, Storie confirms his wife having said to him at the time of the 
dream, " What is that light ? " Before writing the account first quoted, 
she had just mentioned the dream to her husband, but had not described 
it. She desired not to think of it, and also was unwilling to worry him 
about it because of his Sunday's work. This last point, it will be observed, 
is a confirmation of the fact that the dream took place on the Saturday 
night ; and " it came out clearly " (Mrs. Sidgwick says) " that her 
recollection about the Saturday night was an independent recollection, 
and not read back after the incident was known." The strongly nervous 
state that preceded the dream was quite unique ia Mrs. Storie's experience. 
But as it appeared that, according to her recollection, it commenced at least 
an hour before the accident took place, it must be regarded as of no 
importance evidentially. The feeling of a presence in the room was also 
quite unique. 

Here the dif&culty of referring the true elements in the dream to the 
agent's mind exceeds that noted in some cases (but see pp. 171-2). For 
Mr. Hunter was asleep ; and even if we can conceive that the image of 
the advancing engine may have had some place in his mind, the presence 

^ In conversation with the present writer, Mrs. Storie mentioned that on one 
other occasion in her life she had had a sort of " borderland " hallucination (see the 
following chapter) ; and that this had corresponded, certainly to within a few days, 
but she did not discover exactly how closely, with the death of another brother in 
America. 8he knew him to be delicate, but was not apprehending hie death. 


of Mr. Johnstone could not have been perceived by him. But it is possible, 
of course, to regard this last item of correspondence as accidental, even 
though the dream was telepathic. It will be observed that the dream 
followed the accident by about 4 hours ; such deferment is, I think, a strong 
point in favour of telepathic, as opposed to independent, clairvoyance. 

To come, however, to less abnormal cases — the following account is 
from Mr. J. T. Milward Pierce* who has a cattle-ranche in Nebraska. 

" Blyville P.O., Knox County, Nebraska, U.S.A. 

" December 5th, 1885. 

(135) " I have just, or rather a month ago, had a very unpleasant 
accident which has fortunately turned out all right and has given me the 
pleasure of forwarding to you a very complete and unmistakable case of 
' second sight.' I think it better to enclose the two letters you will find 
herein, as I received them to-day. They are in answer to two of mine 
dated about the 2nd or 3rd, about a week after the accident. 

" The accident occurred at 7 o'clock in the morning of tite 26th of 
October. I fainted from loss of blood, and was lying for a few moments 
on the ground. I was walking towards a pair of French windows, with 
my hands in my pockets, when I stumbled over a chair and fell right 
through the lowest pane of glass, face foremost, cutting my nose off on one 
side, and nearly taking an eye out — so you will see my sister's dream was 
pretty accurate. I also enclose a statement made by two residents here 
of this end of the case, which will, I hope, make it complete. I may say 
our time is 6^ hours ahead of [mistake for behind] England. 

" Jno, T. M. Pierce." 

Mr. Pierce enclosed the following statement : — 

" On Monday, October 26th, about 7 o'clock a.m., Mr. J. T. M. Pierce 
fell through a French window, cutting his face badly, and lay on the floor 
insensible for several minutes. "J. Watson. 

" C. J. Hunt." 

The enclosures, from Mr. Pierce's sister and mother, are dated respec- 
tively November 15th and 17th, 1885. Miss Pierce, after condolences as 
to the accident, writes : — 

" Do you know it is the oddest thing, but on the 26th of October I 
dreamt that I saw you lying on the ground quite unconscious, your face 
bleeding and looking so dreadful. I woke up calling to you. I told Kate 
directly I came down, and we both marked the date. I told mother, too, 
I had had a bad dream about you, but I did not describe it for fear of 
frightening her. Was it not strange ? It was such a vivid dream, it 
struck me very much, but I did not mention it in my last letter to you ; 
I thought you would laugh about it. But it is strange — on the very 
day too." 

In Mrs. Pierce's letter, the following sentence occurs : — 

" Was not May's dream singular ? She came down that morning 
you were hurt, and told Kate, every particular of it agreeing with the time 
you were hurt." 

In answer to inquiries, Miss Pierce writes : — 

" Frettons, Danbury, Chelmsford. 

" December 31st, 1885. 
" On the night of the 26th October [i.e., 26-27), I dreamt I saw my 


brother lying on the ground, his face bleeding and dark ; he was quite 
unconscious. I called to him, but he did not answer, and was stooping 
towards him, calling him by name, when I awoke. It was so vivid a 
dream that it produced a great impression upon me, and I felt as though 
some accident had befallen him. I cannot tell at all what time in the 
night it was. In the morning I told my sister, and put down the date, 
also mentioning it to one or tv.'o others ; but to my sister I described it in 
the same words that I have now used. 

" I am not at all accustomed to having bad dreams about friends ; 
indeed, I never remember having had one before. Neither am I super- 
stitious, but, nevertheless, I felt convinced that something untoward 
had occurred. So when the letter came, just three weeks after the 
accident, I knew it was the confirmation of my fears. 

" M. Pierce." 

[The coincidence was not as close as Mrs. Pierce's words would imply ; 
and she seems to have mistaken the morning on which the dream was 
mentioned. When Mr. Pierce was lying on the floor as described, the 
time of day at Chelmsford would be between 1.30 and 2 p.m. Therefore 
the dream on the following night must have been at least 8 hours, and 
may have been more than 12 hours, after the event. See the remark on 
deferment made in connection with the last case.] 

[Nos. 136 and 137 are here omitted.] The next case was sent to us by 
Miss Richardson, of 47, Bedford Gardens, Kensington, W., who says : — 

(138) " The writer is a very worthy v/ife of a shopkeeper at home, who 
told me the occurrence some years ago, then with more detail, as it 
was fresh in her memory ; and her husband can vouch for the facts told 
him at the time, and the strange ' uncanny ' effect of the dream on her 
mind for some time after." 

From Mrs. Green to Miss Richardson. 

" Newry, 21st First Month, 1885, 

" Dear Friend, — In compliance with thy request I give thee the 
particulars of my dream. 

" I saw two respectably dressed females driving alone in a vehicle like 
a mineral-water cart. Their horse stopped at a water to drink ; but as 
there was no footing, he lost his balance, and in trying to recover it he 
plunged right in. With the shock, the women stood up and shouted for 
help, and their hats rose off their heads, and as all were going down I 
turned away crying and saying, ' Was there no one at all to help them ? ' 
upon which I awoke, and my husband asked me what was the matter. I 
related the above dream to him, and he asked me if I knew them. I said 
I did not, and thought I had never seen either of them. The impression 
of the dream and the trouble it brought was over me all day. I remarked 
to my son it was the anniversary of his birthday and my own also — the 
loth of First Month, and this is why I remember the date. 

" The following Third Month I got a letter and newspaper from m^' 
brother in Australia, named Allen, letting me know the sad trouble which 
had befallen him in the loss, by drowning, of one of his daughters and her 
companion. Thou wilt see by the description given of it in the paper how 
the event corresponded v/ith my dream. My niece was born in Australia, 
and I never saw her. 

" Please return the paper at thy convenience. Considering that our 


night is their day, I must have been in sympathy with the sufferers at the 
time of the accident, on the loth of First Month, 1878.^ 

" It is referred to in two separate places in the newspaper." 

The passage in the Inglewood A dvertiser is as follows ; — 

" Friday evening, January nth, 1878. 
" A dreadful accident occurred in the neighbourhood of Wedderburn, 
on Wednesday last, resulting in the death of two women, named Lehey and 
Allen. It appears that the deceased were driving into Wedderburn in a 
spring cart from the direction of Kinypanial, when they attempted to 
water their horse at a dam on the boundary of Torpichen Station. The 
dam was 10 or 12 feet deep in one spot, and into this deep hole they must 
have inadvertently driven, for Mr. W. McKechnie, manager of Torpichen 
Station, upon going to the dam some hours afterwards, discovered the 
spring cart and horse under the water, and two women's hats floating on the 
surface. . . . The dam was searched, and the bodies of the two women, 
clasped in each other's arms, recovered." 

The following is an extract from evidence given at the inquest : — 

" Joseph John Allen, farmer, deposed : — ' I identify one of the bodies 
as that of my sister. I saw her about 11 a.m. ^^esterday. . . . The horse 
had broken away and I caught it for her. Mrs. Lehey and my sister met 
me when I caught the horse. . . . They then took the horse and went 
to Mr. Clarke's. I did not see them afterwards alive.' William McKechnie 
deposed : — ' About 4 p.m. yesterday, I was riding by the dam when I 
observed the legs of a horse and the chest above the water.' " 

Mr. Green confirms as follows : — 

" Newry, 15th Second Month, 1885. 

" Dear Friend Edith Richardson, — In reference to the dream 
that my wife had of seeing two women thrown out of a spring cart by their 
horse stopping to drink out of some deep water, I remember she was greatly 
distressed about it, and seemed to feel great sympathy for them. It 
occurred on the night of the 9th of January. 

" The reason I can remember the date so well is that the loth was the 
anniversary of my wife and our son's birthday. As the day advanced she 
seemed to get worse, and I advised her to go out for a drive ; when she 
returned she told me she was no better, and also said she had told the 
driver not to go near water, lest some accident should happen, as she had 
had such a dreadful dream the night before, at the same time telling him 
the nature of it. As m^^ wife's niece did not live with her father, he was 
not told of it until the next morning, which would be our evening of the 
loth, and which we think accounted for the increased trouble she felt in 
sympathy with him. " Thos. Green." 

Mrs. Green can recall no other dream of at all the same character. 

[The amount of correspondence in detail here is considerable. The 
fact that the figures seen were merely recognised as " two females " 

^ The narrator has reckoned the difference of time the wrong way. The time in 
England which corresponded with the accident was the earlt/ morning of Jan. 9 ; 
and the dream which took place on the night of Jan. 9 must have followed the death 
by more than 12 hours. Thus, according to our arbitrary rule of limitation, the case 
ought not to have been included. [Escept on the hypothesis that the father was the 
agent and the shock of the news to him the crisis on the agent's side. — En.] 


diminishes, of course, the force of the coincidence ; though perhaps one 
would hardly expect identification of persons unknown to the percipient.] 

[The remaining cases in this section, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 
are omitted.] 

This may conclude, for the present, the subject of dreams. If with 
respect to some of the cases cited I have used expressions implying that 
we may regard them as pretty certainly telepathic, this is on the under- 
standing, as I have explained, that telepathy is established independently 
of them. But though this branch of evidence can scarcely be in itself con- 
clusive, the study of it will materially assist our future progress. 



§ I. In the cases of the last chapter, the percipient, at the moment of 
percipience, was distinctly asleep. But the passage from sleep to waking 
admits of many degrees ; and a very interesting group of cases remain 
which cannot properly be classed as dreams, and yet which do not apper- 
tain to seasons of complete normal wakefulness. The discussion of these 
experiences, which occur on the borderland of sleeping and waking, will 
form the natural transition to the waking phenomena with which we shall 
be occupied during the remainder of our course. The wholeset of cases 
in which telepathic impressions take a sensory form really belong to one 
large genus ; whatever the state of the percipient may be, percepts or 
^t^asi -percepts which are not originated by anything within the normal 
range of his sense-organs are and must be hallucinations. For conveni- 
ence, however, that term is confined to waking experiences, for which 
there is no other designation. Accordingly, as I have before spoken of 
veridical dreams I shall in future have to speak of veridical hallucinations ; 
and we are now to take the step which leads from the one class to the other. 

There are certain reasons why this borderland might be expected to 
be rich in telepathic phenomena. An impression from a distant mind may 
or may not originate a sensory hallucination ; but if it does so, this seems 
more specially likely to occur at any season, or in any state of the organism, 
which happens to be favourable to sensory hallucinations in general. 
Now the state between sleeping and waking has this character. Persons 
who have never had hallucinations of the senses at any other times, have 
experienced them in the moments which immediately precede, or imme- 
diately follow, actual sleep. And though neither form of experience is 
common, an examination of a number of instances seems to show that 
conditions which come nearest to those of sleep are more favourable than 
those of ordinary waking life, for the bodying forth of subjective phan- 
tasms. ^ 

Of the hallucinations which precede sleep, the best known class have 
received the name of " illusions hypnagogiques." They have been care- 
fully described by Miiller, Maury, and other writers, who have themselves 
experienced them. For the most part they seem to begin with an appear- 
ance of bright points and streaks, which then form a more or less compli- 

^ The same seems to hold good in distinctly morbid cases. (See Dr. Pick's remarks 
in the Vienna Jahrbuch fur Psychiatrie for 1880, vol. ii., p. 60.) Dr. Maudsley says 
that, in recovery from chronic alcoholism, the hallucinations continue to occur 
between sleeping and waking, when they have ceased to occur at other times. {The 
Pathology of Mind, p. 485.) 



cated pattern, or develop into a scene or landscape.^ In these cases, it 
is probable that the origin of the phenomena is a slightly abnormal con- 
dition of the retina, and that elements of actual sensation from this 
peripheral source form the basis of the phantasmagoria which the mind 
elaborates. But there is another form, involving no peculiarity of the 
external organ, where some object that has been actually seen during 
the day seems to reappear before the eyes with all the vividness of reality. 
Maury gives a case of an " after-image " of the sort, which well exempli- 
fies the stage between reality and dream. After a fatiguing day, his eyes 
had been gladdened by the sight of a beefsteak, which was to form his 
dinner. After dinner he became drowsy ; and in this state he had a 
distinct vision of this very steak, apparently as real and palpable as ever. 
Lapsing then into actual sleep, he had a \n\\6. dream, in which the steak 
again reappeared. Here it is clear that the " hypnagogic " hallucination 
was as truly the projection of the percipient's own mind as the dream. 

The hallucinations which immediately follow sleep are not infrequently 
the result of a previous dream, some feature of which is prolonged into 
waking moments, and becomes temporarily located among the objects 
that meet the eye. An Oxford undergraduate teUs me that, having had 
a very vivid dream of being chased by a figure in green, he woke and saw 
the green figure in the middle of his room. " I had no doubt that I was 
awake, for I saw the light from the street lamp shining on my door. The 
figure was not in this light but nearer the bed, and the green tinge was very 
perceptible." The Rev. E. H. Sugden, of Bradford, writes to me : "Once 
I had a most vivid dream about a man whom I knew well. On suddenly 
waking, I saw him, in the light of early morning, standing at my bedside 
in the very attitude of the dream. I looked at him for a second or two, 
and then, putting my foot out, I kicked at him ; as my foot reached him, 
he vanished." Another informant had a dream, in the train, of looking 
at her watch, and on waking saw the dial before her eyes " larger than the 
real one, and blue : after a few moments it flickered and went out like a 
candle." In these cases the impression was scarcely more than moment- 
ary ; but other informants — among them Professor Balfour Stewart — 
have told me of similar experiences of their own which lasted a good many 
seconds ; and in the stock example of the books, the dream-baboon 
remained grinning in a corner even while the percipient was sufficiently 
himself to walk across the room — a striking illustration of the psycho- 
logical identity of the dreaming and the waking image. 

More striking are the cases where the images, though immediately 
following sleep, are not a continuance of a dream, or at any rate of a 
dream of which the slightest memory survives. Of course these experi- 
ences may not all have been hallucinations in the strict sense, but only 
misinterpretations of actual sensation — that is to say some article of 
furniture or real object in the room may have served as the basis for the 
delusive image ; and momentary illusions of this sort are perhaps not 
very uncommon. ^ But even so, the mind has imposed its own creation 

^ See some excellent examples in the next chapter, p. 300, note. 

- For instance, Mr. Paul Bird, of 39, Strand, Calcutta, tells me that some years 
ago he woke, and saw a native standing against the wall, who on being regarded sank 
into a squatting posture. " I jumped out of bed, caught the intruder by the throat. 


from within on what met the eye from without ; and such cases, there- 
fore, still bear out my point, that the tendency to externalise and objectify 
mental images is strongest at one special season of waking life. Of 302 
cases of hallucinations of sight (exclusive of those given as telepathic 
evidence in this book), of which I have collected first-hand accounts 
during the last three years, as many as 43 — that is, a seventh of the whole 
number — have taken place during the first few moments after waking. 
It is equally noteworthy that of the remainder, 66, making in all more 
than a third of the whole number, occurred to persons who were in bed — 
a proportion far in excess of that which the number of waking minutes 
spent in bed bears to the total number of waking minutes. Few of these 
cases, moreover, were of a character that would allow us to class them as 
illusions hypnagogiques. They did not visit persons who were familiar 
with such visions as sleep approached ; nor did they originate or develop 
in any way that suggests an unusual or fatigued condition of the retina. 
Nor again could by any means all of them be explained, like M. Maury's 
beefsteak, as " after-images " — revivals of past impressions ; for out 
of the 43 cases first mentioned only 23, out of the 66 other cases only 26, 
represented a face, form, or object that was recognised ; while in several 
even of these cases the person whose figure appeared was a deceased 
friend or relative who had not been actually seen for months or years. 
Similarly, of 187 first-hand cases of auditory hallucination in my collec- 
tion, 63, or more than one-third of the whole number, took place in bed. 
Of these, 19 are described as either awakening the person, or occurring 
in the very first moment of waking, and in 10 of the 19 the sound was a 
recognised voice; of the remaining 44, 17 were unrecognised voices, 
II v/ere non- vocal sounds such as ringings and knocks, and only 16 repre- 
sented recognised voices. It wo